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[awr-uh-ree, or-] /ˈɔr ə ri, ˈɒr-/
noun, plural orreries.
an apparatus for representing the positions, motions, and phases of the planets, satellites, etc., in the solar system.
any of certain similar machines, as a planetarium.
Origin of orrery
First recorded in 1705-15; named after Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery (1676-1731), for whom it was first made Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for orrery
Historical Examples
  • The first orrery was constructed by the Earl of orrery (c. 1700).

  • The machinery of the heavens is much simpler than that of an orrery.

    Letters on Astronomy Denison Olmsted
  • orrery's "Altemira" was not produced till long after his death.

  • His countenance, says orrery, could be terribly expressive of the sterner passions.


    Leslie Stephen
  • He was the improver of that noble instrument the orrery, which, in honour of him, was called after his name.

    Chelsea George Bryan
  • In 1786 she married the seventh earl of Cork and orrery, who died in 1798.

  • Just as I have my conceptions of a school-globe or of an orrery—by diminution.

  • orrery was the dull member of a family eminent for its talents.

    Alexander Pope Leslie Stephen
  • For this service he was rewarded by being created Earl of orrery.

    The Glories of Ireland Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox
  • The incident should figure in his next letter to orrery or to his cousin Taylor.

    Audrey Mary Johnston
British Dictionary definitions for orrery


noun (pl) -ries
a mechanical model of the solar system in which the planets can be moved at the correct relative velocities around the sun
Word Origin
C18: originally made for Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery
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 orrery

1713, invented c.1713 by George Graham and made by instrument maker J. Rowley, who gave a copy to his patron, Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (Cork) and named it in his honor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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