The etymology surrounding all senses remains somewhat unclear. The fact that the dye came exclusively from Phoenicia assures some connection. However, it is unclear if it comes from native Greek or is a Phoenician loanword. The relationship in the sense of 'mythical bird' and Egyptian bnw (“phoenix, Bennu bird”) is clear, but some have argued for a Semitic source (possibly Phoenician), perhaps related to the "dye" sense and the bird's red plumage. It has been argued both that the name of the tree derives from the bird and vice versa; it may be significant that Egyptian bnw can also mean both a mythical bird and the fruit of the date tree. Regardless of the etymology, the word traces back to the Mycenaean era, as evidenced by 𐀡𐀛𐀐 (po-ni-ke) and 𐀡𐀛𐀑𐀠 (po-ni-ki-pi) (most likely date palm). Confer Hebrew פֻוָ֕ה (p̄u·wāh, “a clan's name”) & Arabic فُوَّه (fuwwah, “madder”), a plant whose root yields purple-red dye.
- purple or crimson
- palm tree
- date (the fruit of the date palm)
- phoenix, the mythical bird derived from Egyptian mythology
- (music) A guitar-like instrument invented by the Phoenicians
|Case / #||Singular||Dual||Plural|
|τοῖς φοίνῑξῐ / φοίνῑξῐν|
- φοῖνιξ in Liddell & Scott (1940) A Greek–English Lexicon, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- φοῖνιξ in Liddell & Scott (1889) An Intermediate Greek–English Lexicon, New York: Harper & Brothers
- φοῖνιξ in Autenrieth, Georg (1891) A Homeric Dictionary for Schools and Colleges, New York: Harper and Brothers
- φοῖνιξ in Cunliffe, Richard J. (1924) A Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect: Expanded Edition, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, published 1963
- G5404 in Strong, James (1979) Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible
- Woodhouse, S. C. (1910) English–Greek Dictionary: A Vocabulary of the Attic Language, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited.
- Bauer, Walter et al. (2001) A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Third edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press