Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Phoenix

A phoenix is an ancient mythological bird which has appeared in legends and traditions spanning from Greece to Egypt, from Europe to Asia and from Persia to Arabia. In other words, the phoenix has held a position of prominence and respect across many cultures and ancient geographical distances. The word phoenix was derived from the Greek “φοινιξ” (phoinix) meaning ‘crimson, dark purple-red’ probably referring to the bird’s colorful feathers and tail of dark red or crimson. The phoenix symbolizes rebirth and renewal by virtue of its 500 year life-cycle during which time it builds a nest and then at the end of its life ignites the pyre in a brilliant and fierce flame. From the ashes of its corpse springs a new, young phoenix. So there is also a sense of immortality with the phoenix. Phoenix is also a name that shows up in Greco-Roman mythology as the brother of Europa. He was sent out by his father in search of his sister who had been carried off by Zeus. After ending up in Africa, Phoenix gave his name to the people who were henceforth referred to as Phoenicians. The state capital of Arizona is Phoenix, so called because remnants of an ancient, indigenous dwelling were recovered in the area. The idea of building this new city represented a rebirth or renewal of habitation on a site previously occupied. Aside from the United States, Phoenix is also a name used in Australia (although for boys and not for girls).

All About the Baby Name – Phoenix

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME PHOENIX

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME PHOENIX

Oddly enough, Phoenix is a unisex name in America. We found this surprising because the name has a distinctly masculine resonance. Although we can see how the “rising” phoenix, a symbol of rebirth and renewal, would be an interesting choice as a name for either gender. The name is not heavily used by any means, although it’s nearly twice as popular for little boys than it is for girls. Except for one or two blips on the charts, Phoenix is ‘rising’ on both the male and female charts. We wouldn’t be concerned about over-use; this name is far too exotic and unusual to ever gain a massive following. Phoenix is a cool name. It’s a place name and a mythological name. But most of all, it’s unique and different.

Quick Facts

ON PHOENIX

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Greek

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

486

PRONUNCIATION:

FEE-niks

SIMPLE MEANING:

Crimson; Rising bird; Symbol of renewal and rebirth

Characteristics

OF PHOENIX

Independent

Individualistic

Ambitious

Strong-willed

Inventive

Successful

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Phoenix

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME PHOENIX

Phoenix is a minor character who shows up in Homer’s epic poem the Iliad. He is one of the brave and skilled Greek warriors led by Achilles against Troy in the Trojan War. Prior to the Trojan War, Phoenix was victimized by one of his father’s concubines who falsely accused him of seducing her. As a result, his father exacted punishment upon him by blinding him. Phoenix sought refuge with Achilles’ father who took him to Chiron, chief of the centaurs, who restored Phoenix’s sight. Later he was made king of the Dolopes (a mountain region of southern Greece) and participated in the Calydonian Hunt (another Greek mythological tale). In Book IX of the Iliad, Phoenix, Odysseus and Ajax meet with Achilles. Phoenix delivers an impassioned speech urging his friend Achilles back into battle. He recounts the story of being cursed by his own father and taken in by Achilles’ father as a young man and so feels that Achilles is like a son to him as well. "So you, Achilles- great godlike Achilles I made you my son, I tried, so someday you might fight disaster off my back. But now, Achilles beat down your mounting fury! It's wrong to have such an iron, ruthless heart." It is the speech of Phoenix out of the three which displays the most emotion. Phoenix is the only one who cries which demonstrates his true affection for Achilles as well as his humanity amidst a brutal ten year war.

Popular Songs

ON PHOENIX

Fawkes the Phoenix
performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Flight of the Phoenix
a song by Grand Funk Railroad

My Little Phoenix
a song by Tarja

Phoenix
a song by Dan Fogelberg

Phoenix Rising
a song by Uncle Sid

Flight of the Order of the Phoenix
a song by Nicholas Hooper

Phoenix Burn
a song by Alpha Rev

Famous People

NAMED PHOENIX

Dave "Phoenix" Farrell (bassist for Linkin Park)

Children of Famous People

NAMED PHOENIX

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Phoenix

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME PHOENIX

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Phoenix