centaur

[ sen-tawr ]
/ ˈsɛn tɔr /
|

noun

Classical Mythology. one of a race of monsters having the head, trunk, and arms of a man, and the body and legs of a horse.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Centaurus.
a skillful horseman or horsewoman.
(initial capital letter) Rocketry. a U.S. upper stage, with a restartable liquid-propellant engine, used with an Atlas or Titan booster to launch satellites and probes.

Nearby words

  1. cent-,
  2. cent.,
  3. cental,
  4. centare,
  5. centas,
  6. centaurea,
  7. centaurs,
  8. centaurus,
  9. centaury,
  10. centavo

Origin of centaur

1325–75; Middle English, Old English < Latin centaurus < Greek kéntauros

Related formscen·tau·ri·al, cen·tau·ri·an, cen·tau·ric, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for centaurs


British Dictionary definitions for centaurs

centaur

/ (ˈsɛntɔː) /

noun

Greek myth one of a race of creatures with the head, arms, and torso of a man, and the lower body and legs of a horse

Word Origin for centaur

C14: from Latin, from Greek kentauros, of unknown origin

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 centaurs

centaur

n.

late 14c., from Latin centaurus, from Greek Kentauros, origin disputed. In early Greek literature they were a savage, horse-riding tribe from Thessaly; later they were monsters half horse, half man. The southern constellation of Centaurus is attested in English from 1550s but was known by that name to the Romans and known as a centaur to the Greeks. It has often been confused since classical times with Sagittarius.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for centaurs

Centaur

[ sĕntôr′ ]

Any of a group of icy bodies similar to both asteroids and comets, orbiting the Sun in elliptical paths mostly in the region between Saturn and Neptune. Centaurs range in diameter from around 100 to 400 km (62 to 248 mi) and are believed to be Kuiper belt objects that have escaped into the vicinity of the gas-giant planets. Centaurs are considered to have unstable orbits, and gravitational encounters with the large outer planets could send them into the inner solar system or alternatively could eject them from the solar system into interstellar space. Chiron, the first such body to be classified as a Centaur, was discovered in 1977.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for centaurs

centaurs

Creatures in classical mythology who were half-human and half-horse.

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.