• synonyms


  1. (italics) a Greek work on astronomy by Ptolemy.
  2. (lowercase) any of various medieval works of a like kind, as on astrology or alchemy.
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Origin of Almagest

1350–1400; Middle English almageste < Middle French < Arabic al the + majisṭī < Greek megístē (sýntaxis) greatest (composition)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for almagest

Historical Examples of almagest

  • The reference is right, for the 'motus celi' are discussed in the Almagest, lib.

    Chaucer's Works, Volume 3 (of 7)

    Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Tables of mean motions of the Sun are given in Ptolemy's Almagest, lib.

  • His catalogue contained 1,080 stars, and is printed in the "Almagest" of Ptolemy.


    David Todd

  • He was chiefly distinguished for his revision of the ‘Almagest.’

  • The first Arabic translation of the Almagest was made Arab astronomers.

British Dictionary definitions for almagest


  1. a work on astronomy compiled by Ptolemy in the 2nd century a.d containing a description of the geocentric system of the universe and a star catalogue
  2. (sometimes not capital) any of various similar medieval treatises on astrology, astronomy, or alchemy
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Word Origin for Almagest

C14: from Old French, from Arabic al-majisti, from al the + majisti, from Greek megistē greatest (treatise)
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

Word Origin and History for almagest


late 14c., title of a treatise on astronomy by Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, extended in Middle English to other works on astrology or astronomy, from Old French almageste (13c.), from Arabic al majisti, from al "the" + Greek megiste "the greatest (composition)," from fem. of megistos, superlative of megas "great" (see mickle). Originally titled in Greek Megale syntaxis tes astronomios "Great Work on Astronomy;" Arab translators in their admiration altered this.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper