Phooka or Pooka. A spirit of most malignant disposition, who hurries people to their destruction. He
sometimes comes in the form of an eagle, and sometimes in that of a horse, like the Scotch kelpie (q.v.).
Phorcos The old man of the sea. He was the father of the three Graiæ, who were grey from their birth,
and had but one eye and one tooth common to the three. (Greek mythology.)
Phormio A parasite who accommodates himself to the humour of everyone. (Terence: Phormio.)
Phrygians An early Christian sect, so called from Phrygia, where they abounded. They regarded Montanus
as their prophet, and laid claim to the spirit of prophecy.
Phryne (2 syl.). A courtesan or Athenian hetæra. She acquired so much wealth by her beauty that she
offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes if she might put on them this inscription: Alexander destroyed
them, but Phryne the hetæra rebuilt them. The Cnidian Venus of Praxiteles was taken from this courtesan.
Apelles' picture of Venus Rising from the Sea was partly from his wife Campaspe, and partly from Phryne,
who entered the sea with dishevelled hair as a model.
Phylactery A charm or amulet. The Jews wore on their wrist or forehead a slip of parchment bearing a
text of Scripture. Strictly speaking, a phylactery consisted of four pieces of parchment, enclosed in two
black leather cases, and fastened to the forehead or wrist of the left hand. One case contained Ex. xiii.
1-10, 11-16; and the other case Deut. vi. 4-9, xi. 13-21. The idea arose from the command of Moses,
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart ... and bind them for a sign upon your hand ...
as frontlets between your eyes (Deut. xi. 18). (Greek, phylacterion, from the verb phylasso to watch.)
Phyllis A country girl. (Virgil: Eclogues, iii. and v.)
Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses.
Phyllis and Brunetta Rival beauties who for a long time vied with each other on equal terms. For a
certain festival Phyllis procured some marvellous fabric of gold brocade to outshine her rival; but Brunetta
dressed the slave who bore her train in the same material, clothing herself in simple black. Upon this
crushing mortification Phyllis went home and died. (Spectator.)
Phyllising the Fair Philandering- making soft speeches and winning faces at them. Garth says of Dr.
He passed his easy hours, instead of prayer,
In madrigals and phyllising the fair.
The Dispensary. i.
Phynnodderee [the Hairy-one]. A Manx spirit, similar to the Scotch brownie, and German kobold.
He is said to be an outlawed fairy, and the offence was this: He absented himself without leave from
Fairy-court on the great levée-day of the Harvest-moon, being in the glen of Rushen, dancing with a pretty
Manx maid whom he was courting.
Physician The Beloved Physician. Lucius, supposed to be St. Luke, the evangelist (Col. iv. 14).
Prince of Physicians. Avicenna, the Arabian (980-1037).
Physician or Fool Plutarch, in his treatise On the Preservation of Health, tells us that Tiberius was
wont to say, A man of thirty is his own physician or a fool.