The sphinx terrorized Thebes before the arrival of Oedipus (see Oedipal Complex). She was a hybrid creature with the head of a woman, body of a lion, wings of an eagle, and the tail of a serpent. She punished those who failed to answer her riddle with strangulation (the Greek verb sphingein means to strangle). At some point the Greek sphinx became associated with Egyptian iconography, in which the sphinx had a lion's body and a hawk's or man's head. When we liken someone to a sphinx, we have in mind the great riddler of the Greeks and not the Egyptian conception. A sphinx is an inscrutable person, given to enigmatic utterances (the Greek word ainigma means a riddle).