inferior planet

[ in-feer-ee-er plan-it ]
/ ɪnˈfɪər i ər ˈplæn ɪt /

noun Astronomy.

(relative to Earth) either of the two planets whose orbits are closer to the sun, namely, Venus and Mercury.
(relative to a given planet) any planet whose orbit is closer to the sun: From the perspective of Jupiter, Earth is an inferior planet.

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Origin of inferior planet

First recorded in 1715–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for inferior planet

inferior planet

noun

either of the planets Mercury and Venus, whose orbits lie inside that of the earth
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

Scientific definitions for inferior planet

inferior planet

Either of the planets Mercury or Venus, whose orbits lie between Earth and the Sun. Because these planets lie in the general direction of the Sun, they can only be seen a few hours before sunrise or after sunset and are always positioned relatively near the horizon, never overhead. Inferior planets go through a complete cycle of phases as viewed from Earth, although their full phase, which occurs on the far side of the Sun, is lost in its glare. Compare superior planet. See also inner planet.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.