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[rahy-juh l, -guh l] /ˈraɪ dʒəl, -gəl/
noun, Astronomy.
a first-magnitude star in the constellation Orion.
Origin of Rigel
First recorded in 1585-95, Rigel is from the Arabic word rijl foot, so called from its position in the left foot of the figure of Orion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Rigel
Historical Examples
  • Turn the glass upon β (Rigel), the white first-magnitude star in Orion's left foot.

    Pleasures of the telescope Garrett Serviss
  • Then we had landed, and almost at the same moment Rigel set.

    Out Around Rigel Robert H. Wilson
  • He had known Betelgeuse years ago and personally had always preferred its neighbour Rigel, which had received no publicity at all.

    Tutors' Lane Wilmarth Lewis
  • The latitude as ascertained by the stars Aldebaran and Rigel was 30 degrees 24 minutes 44 seconds South.

  • Smyth mentions Rigel as a test for a 4-inch aperture, with powers of from 80 to 120.

    Half-hours with the Telescope Richard A. Proctor
  • Its name is Rigel (pronounced re´-jel) from an Arabian word meaning "the foot."

  • The star to be examined is the little brilliant dangling below the right-hand end of the Belt, toward Rigel.

    Pleasures of the telescope Garrett Serviss
  • The most advanced culture on Rigel's first planet is to be compared to the Italian cities during Europe's feudalistic era.

    Adaptation Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Rigel belongs to a new generation of the universe; Betelgeuse to the universe that is passing.

    Astronomy with an Opera-glass Garrett Putman Serviss
  • The well-known companion to the bright star Rigel (β Orionis) has been suspected for many years to be a close double star.

    Astronomical Curiosities J. Ellard Gore
British Dictionary definitions for Rigel


/ˈraɪdʒəl; ˈraɪɡəl/
the brightest star, Beta Orionis, in the constellation Orion: a very luminous and extremely remote bluish-white supergiant, a double star. Visual magnitude: 0.12; spectral type: B8I
Word Origin
C16: from Arabic rijl foot; from its position in Orion's foot
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 Rigel

bright star in Orion, 1590s, from Arabic Rijl Jauzah al Yusra "the Left Leg of the Central One," from rijl "foot."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Rigel in Science
A very bright, bluish-white supergiant star in the constellation Orion. It is a binary star, with an average apparent magnitude of 0.12. Scientific name: Beta Orionis.

Our Living Language  : The history of astronomy owes much to Arabic scientists of the Middle Ages, who preserved the astronomical learning of ancient Greece and made improvements on it. The English names of many of the brightest stars in the heavens are Arabic in origin. The name of the supergiant star Rigel, for example, comes from the Arabic word for "foot" (the foot of the constellation Orion, that is). Some other important stars whose names are Arabic include Aldebaran, "the one following (the Pleiades)"; Betelgeuse, "hand of Orion"; Deneb, "tail" (of the constellation Cygnus, the swan); and Altair, "the flying eagle" (in the constellation Aquila, the eagle). The names of other stars are usually Greek or Latin, such as Antares or Sirius, as are the names of the constellations.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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