Big Dipper

noun Astronomy.

the group of seven bright stars in Ursa Major resembling a dipper in outline.

Origin of Big Dipper

First recorded in 1865–70
Also called Dipper. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for big dipper

Big Dipper


the US and Canadian name for Plough

big dipper


(in amusement parks) a narrow railway with open carriages that run swiftly over a route of sharp curves and steep inclinesAlso called: roller coaster
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 big dipper

Big Dipper


American English name for the seven-star asterism (known in England as the plough; see Charles's Wain) in the constellation Ursa Major, first attested 1833 as simply the Dipper (sometimes Great Dipper, its companion constellation always being the Little Dipper). See dipper.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

big dipper in Science

Big Dipper

An asterism composed of seven stars in the constellation Ursa Major. Four stars form the bowl and three form the handle in the outline of a dipper.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

big dipper in Culture

Big Dipper

A constellation in the northern sky. The two stars on the far end of the bowl of the dipper point toward the North Star. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear).

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