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[ee-kwuh-nok-shuh l, ek-wuh-] /ˌi kwəˈnɒk ʃəl, ˌɛk wə-/
pertaining to an equinox or the equinoxes, or to the equality of day and night.
pertaining to the celestial equator.
occurring at or about the time of an equinox.
Botany. (of a flower) opening regularly at a certain hour.
Origin of equinoctial
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin aequinoctiālis pertaining to the equinox. See equinox, -al1
Related forms
interequinoctial, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for equinoctial
Historical Examples
  • For the equinoctial Circle does not cut the Zodiac at right angles.

    The Non-Christian Cross John Denham Parsons
  • An equinoctial gale was raging, or rather had been raging all day.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • The "Ranger" had encountered an equinoctial gale in its worst form.

  • I don't know if you remember that equinoctial gale that blew about the 18th or 19th.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
  • They will in all probability be caught in the equinoctial gales.

    Flora Lyndsay Susan Moodie
  • I was sure that this was the beginning of the equinoctial gale.

    Swept Out to Sea

    W. Bertram Foster
  • The equinoctial gales were due, and rarely failed to keep their appointments.

    Pabo, The Priest Sabine Baring-Gould
  • The end of this island is in 111⁄2° south of the equinoctial.

    The Solomon Islands and Their Natives

    H. B. (Henry Brougham) Guppy
  • The latter, by way of distinction, is sometimes denominated the equinoctial.

    Letters on Astronomy Denison Olmsted
  • Why we do not rather take the distance of the star from the equinoctial, at once?

    Letters on Astronomy Denison Olmsted
British Dictionary definitions for equinoctial


relating to or occurring at either or both equinoxes
(of a plant) having flowers that open and close at specific regular times
(astronomy) of or relating to the celestial equator
a storm or gale at or near an equinox
another name for celestial equator
Word Origin
C14: from Latin aequinoctiālis concerning the equinox
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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equinoctial in Science
  (ē'kwə-nŏk'shəl, ěk'wə-)   
  1. Relating to an equinox.

  2. Relating to the celestial equator.

Noun  See celestial equator.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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