- Classical Mythology. seven daughters of Atlas and half sisters of the Hyades, placed among the stars to save them from the pursuit of Orion. One of them (the Lost Pleiad) hides, either from grief or shame.
- Astronomy. a conspicuous group or cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus, commonly spoken of as seven, though only six are visible.
Origin of Pleiades
- any of the Pleiades.
- French Plé·iade [pley-yad] /pleɪˈyad/. a group of seven French poets of the latter half of the 16th century.
- (usually lowercase) any group of eminent or brilliant persons or things, especially when seven in number.
Examples from the Web for pleiades
One of the stars in the constellation of the Pleiades is said to have disappeared.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
We glance carelessly at the sunrise, and get used to Orion and the Pleiades.The Biglow Papers
James Russell Lowell
The Eskimos regard the Pleiades as a team of dogs in pursuit of a bear.A Field Book of the Stars
William Tyler Olcott
Brownie was willing the Pleiades to this planet so hard that we all could taste it.
When the Pleiades struck ground the impact was scarcely to be felt.
- Greek myth the seven daughters of Atlas, placed as stars in the sky either to save them from the pursuit of Orion or, in another account, after they had killed themselves for grief over the death of their half-sisters the Hyades
- a young conspicuous open star cluster approximately 370 light years away in the constellation Taurus, containing several thousand stars only six or seven of which are visible to the naked eyeCompare Hyades 1
- a brilliant or talented group, esp one with seven members
- one of the Pleiades (stars or daughters of Atlas)
Word Origin and History for pleiades
late 14c., the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, transformed by Zeus into seven stars, from Latin Pleiades, from Greek Pleiades, perhaps literally "constellation of the doves" from a shortened form of peleiades, plural of peleias "dove" (from PIE root *pel- "dark-colored, gray"). Or perhaps from plein "to sail," because the season of navigation begins with their heliacal rising.
Old English had the name from Latin as Pliade. Mentioned by Hesiod (pre-700 B.C.E.), only six now are visible to most people; on a clear night a good eye can see nine (in 1579, well before the invention of the telescope, the German astronomer Michael Moestlin (1550-1631) correctly drew 11 Pleiades stars); telescopes reveal at least 500. Hence French pleiade, used for a meeting or grouping of seven persons.
- A loose collection of several hundred stars in the constellation Taurus, at least six of which are visible to the unaided eye.