Phoebus was one of the best-known by-names of Apollo. Like Phoebe (which see) it means 'bright', and it was often preferred to Apollo's 'standard' name. Apollo was not originally identified with the sun, although this name promoted his association with it. Some classical writers maintained that he came to be so called since his grandmother was named Phoebe (this is the Titaness Phoebe mentioned in the previous entry).

In more recent times Phoebus has come to be simply a poetic name for the sun, without any hint of the name belonging to Apollo. No doubt Shakespeare started the trend, with his 'Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings, And Phoebus 'gins arise' (probably the best-known quotation from one of his least-known plays, Cymbeline).