galaxy

[gal-uh k-see]
See more synonyms for galaxy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural gal·ax·ies.
  1. Astronomy.
    1. a large system of stars held together by mutual gravitation and isolated from similar systems by vast regions of space.
    2. (usually initial capital letter)Milky Way.
  2. any large and brilliant or impressive assemblage of persons or things: a galaxy of opera stars.

Origin of galaxy

1350–1400; Middle English galaxie, galaxias < Medieval Latin galaxia, galaxias, ultimately < Greek galaxías kýklos the Milky Way; see galacto-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for galaxy

Contemporary Examples of galaxy

Historical Examples of galaxy


British Dictionary definitions for galaxy

galaxy

noun plural -axies
  1. any of a vast number of star systems held together by gravitational attraction in an asymmetric shape (an irregular galaxy) or, more usually, in a symmetrical shape (a regular galaxy), which is either a spiral or an ellipseFormer names: island universe, extragalactic nebula Related adjective: galactic
  2. a splendid gathering, esp one of famous or distinguished people

Word Origin for galaxy

C14 (in the sense: the Milky Way), from Medieval Latin galaxia, from Latin galaxias, from Greek, from gala milk; related to Latin lac milk

Galaxy

noun
  1. the Galaxy the spiral galaxy, approximately 100 000 light years in diameter, that contains the solar system about three fifths of the distance from its centreAlso known as: the Milky Way System See also Magellanic Cloud
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 galaxy
n.

late 14c., from Old French galaxie, from Late Latin galaxias "Milky Way," from Greek galaxias (adj.), in galaxias kyklos, literally "milky circle," from gala (genitive galaktos) "milk" (see lactation). The technical astronomical sense emerged 1848. Figurative sense of "brilliant assembly of persons" is from 1580s. Milky Way is a translation of Latin via lactea.

See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt. [Chaucer, "House of Fame"]

Astronomers began to speculate by mid-19c. that some of the spiral nebulae they could see in telescopes were actually immense and immensely distant structures the size and shape of the Milky Way. But the matter was not settled until the 1920s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

galaxy in Science

galaxy

[gălək-sē]
  1. Any of numerous large-scale collections of stars, gas, and dust that make up the visible universe. Galaxies are held together by the gravitational attraction of the material contained within them, and most are organized around a galactic nucleus into elliptical or spiral shapes, with a small percentage of galaxies classed as irregular in shape. A galaxy may range in diameter from some hundreds of light-years for the smallest dwarfs to hundreds of thousands of light-years for the largest ellipticals, and may contain from a few million to several trillion stars. Many galaxies are grouped into clusters, with the clusters themselves often grouped into larger superclusters. See more at active galaxy. See also elliptical galaxy irregular galaxy lenticular galaxy spiral galaxy.
  2. the Galaxy. The Milky Way.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

galaxy in Culture

galaxy

A large, self-contained mass of stars.

Note

A common form for galaxies is a bright center with spiral arms radiating outward.

Note

The universe contains billions of galaxies.

Note

The sun belongs to the galaxy called the Milky Way.
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.