What Was the Riddle of the Sphinx In Greek Mythology and What Does the Word Sphinx Mean In Greek?

On a road outside the city of Thebes, the Sphinx sat on a rock and watched for travelers, who she challenged with this riddle.

“What has four legs in the morning, two legs at midday, and three legs in the evening?”

The correct answer is: a person.

A person crawls on all fours as a baby, walks on two feet as an adult, and needs a cane when old.

If the traveler could not answer, the Sphinx pounced and devoured them.

The word sphinx means “to strangle” in Greek and comes from the Greek word Σφίγξ.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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