American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


PHA'ETON, noun [Gr. to shine.]

1. In mythology, the son of Phoebus and Clymene, or of Cephalus and Aurora, that is, the son of light or of the sun. This aspiring youth begged of Phoebus that he would permit him to guide the chariot of the sun, in doing which he manifested want of skill, and being struck with a thunderbolt by Jupiter, he was hurled headlong into the river Po. This fable probably originated in the appearance of a comet with a splendid train, which passed from the sight in the northwest of Italy and Greece.

2. An open carriage like a chaise, on four wheels, and drawn by two horses.

3. In ornithology, a genus of fowls, the tropic bird.