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[muh-rid-ee-uh n] /məˈrɪd i ən/
  1. a great circle of the earth passing through the poles and any given point on the earth's surface.
  2. the half of such a circle included between the poles.
Astronomy. the great circle of the celestial sphere that passes through its poles and the observer's zenith.
a point or period of highest development, greatest prosperity, or the like.
(in acupuncture) any of the pathways in the body along which vital energy flows.
of or relating to a meridian.
of or relating to midday or noon:
the meridian hour.
of or indicating a period of greatest prosperity, splendor, success, etc.
Origin of meridian
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin merīdiānus of noon, equivalent to merīdi(ēs) midday (formed from the locative merīdiē at midday, by dissimilation < *medī diē; medius mid1, diēs day) + -ānus -an


[muh-rid-ee-uh n] /məˈrɪd i ən/
a city in E Mississippi. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for meridian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • By meridian altitudes of sun, Lyrae (Vega), 32 degrees 15 minutes.

  • By meridian altitude of sun, camp is in latitude 31 degrees 53 minutes South.

  • Following is the revised edition of the Decalogue, calculated for this meridian.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • The profuseness of the illuminations outdid the brightness of the meridian sun.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • Before he reached it the golden sun had begun to decline from his meridian height.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • In the French version, it is the 170th meridian, which is clearly wrong.

British Dictionary definitions for meridian


  1. one of the imaginary lines joining the north and south poles at right angles to the equator, designated by degrees of longitude from 0° at Greenwich to 180°
  2. the great circle running through both poles See prime meridian
  1. the great circle on the celestial sphere passing through the north and south celestial poles and the zenith and nadir of the observer
  2. (as modifier): a meridian instrument
(maths) Also called meridian section. a section of a surface of revolution, such as a paraboloid, that contains the axis of revolution
the peak; zenith: the meridian of his achievements
(in acupuncture, etc) any of the channels through which vital energy is believed to circulate round the body
(obsolete) noon
along or relating to a meridian
of or happening at noon
relating to the peak of something
Word Origin
C14: from Latin merīdiānus of midday, from merīdiēs midday, from mediusmid1 + diēs day
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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Word Origin and History for meridian

mid-14c., "noon," from Old French meridien "of the noon time, midday; the Meridian; southerner" (12c.), and directly from Latin meridianus "of midday, of noon, southerly, to the south," from meridies "noon, south," from meridie "at noon," altered by dissimilation from pre-Latin *medi die, locative of medius "mid-" (see medial (adj.)) + dies "day" (see diurnal). Cartographic sense first recorded late 14c. Figurative uses tend to suggest "point of highest development or fullest power."

The city in Mississippi, U.S., was settled 1854 (as Sowashee Station) at a railway junction and given its current name in 1860, supposedly by people who thought meridian meant "junction" (they perhaps confused the word with median).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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meridian in Medicine

meridian me·rid·i·an (mə-rĭd'ē-ən)

  1. An imaginary line encircling a globular body at right angles to its equator and passing through its poles.

  2. Either half of such a great circle from pole to pole.

  3. Any of the longitudinal lines or pathways on the body along which the acupuncture points are distributed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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meridian in Science
  1. An imaginary line forming a great circle that passes through the Earth's North and South geographic poles.

  2. Either half of such a circle from pole to pole. All the places on the same meridian have the same longitude. See illustration at longitude.

  3. See celestial meridian.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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meridian in Culture
meridian [(muh-rid-ee-uhn)]

A great imaginary circle on the surface of the Earth that runs north and south through the North Pole and South Pole. Longitude is measured on meridians: places on a meridian have the same longitude. (See prime meridian.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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