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From phenomenon (remarkable occurrence) by shortening. First use in United States around 1890s.


  • IPA(key): /ˈfɛ.nəm/, /ˈfiː.nɒm/


phenom (plural phenoms)

  1. Someone or something that is phenomenal, especially a young player in sports like baseball, American football, basketball, tennis, and golf.
  2. One who is hip and fashionable.
    • 2013, Ytasha L. Womack, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, →ISBN, page 105:
      Jones is a pop-culture phenom whose bold antics, outlandish personality, and dazzling looks defied all norms.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often used sarcastically or in jest.

See also[edit]