[muh-rid-ee-uh n]


  1. a great circle of the earth passing through the poles and any given point on the earth's surface.
  2. the half of such a circle included between the poles.
Astronomy. the great circle of the celestial sphere that passes through its poles and the observer's zenith.
a point or period of highest development, greatest prosperity, or the like.
(in acupuncture) any of the pathways in the body along which vital energy flows.


Origin of meridian

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin merīdiānus of noon, equivalent to merīdi(ēs) midday (formed from the locative merīdiē at midday, by dissimilation < *medī diē; medius mid1, diēs day) + -ānus -an


[muh-rid-ee-uh n]


a city in E Mississippi. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for meridian

Contemporary Examples of meridian

  • To its proponents Andhra was the meridian, after 600 years of division and dispersal, of Telugu civilization.

  • Meridian police were not amused and vowed to collect affidavits with an eye toward arresting the perpetrators.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Satan Is Coming to Oklahoma

    Michelle Cottle

    December 10, 2013

  • Sure enough, it was founded at a meeting in Meridian, Mississippi in 1888.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The South's Contribution (Singular!)

    Michael Tomasky

    February 12, 2013

  • Wonderful houses like Meridian House but 
still thriving with boiseries, Louis XV and paté en croute.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Enigmatic Nomad

    Kirk Davis Swinehart

    February 26, 2011

Historical Examples of meridian

  • By meridian altitudes of sun, Lyrae (Vega), 32 degrees 15 minutes.

  • By meridian altitude of sun, camp is in latitude 31 degrees 53 minutes South.

  • Following is the revised edition of the Decalogue, calculated for this meridian.

  • Before he reached it the golden sun had begun to decline from his meridian height.


    William Godwin

  • The profuseness of the illuminations outdid the brightness of the meridian sun.


    William Godwin

British Dictionary definitions for meridian



  1. one of the imaginary lines joining the north and south poles at right angles to the equator, designated by degrees of longitude from 0° at Greenwich to 180°
  2. the great circle running through both polesSee prime meridian
  1. the great circle on the celestial sphere passing through the north and south celestial poles and the zenith and nadir of the observer
  2. (as modifier)a meridian instrument
Also called: meridian section maths a section of a surface of revolution, such as a paraboloid, that contains the axis of revolution
the peak; zeniththe meridian of his achievements
(in acupuncture, etc) any of the channels through which vital energy is believed to circulate round the body
obsolete noon


along or relating to a meridian
of or happening at noon
relating to the peak of something

Word Origin for meridian

C14: from Latin merīdiānus of midday, from merīdiēs midday, from medius mid 1 + diēs day
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 meridian

mid-14c., "noon," from Old French meridien "of the noon time, midday; the Meridian; southerner" (12c.), and directly from Latin meridianus "of midday, of noon, southerly, to the south," from meridies "noon, south," from meridie "at noon," altered by dissimilation from pre-Latin *medi die, locative of medius "mid-" (see medial (adj.)) + dies "day" (see diurnal). Cartographic sense first recorded late 14c. Figurative uses tend to suggest "point of highest development or fullest power."

The city in Mississippi, U.S., was settled 1854 (as Sowashee Station) at a railway junction and given its current name in 1860, supposedly by people who thought meridian meant "junction" (they perhaps confused the word with median).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for meridian




An imaginary line encircling a globular body at right angles to its equator and passing through its poles.
Either half of such a great circle from pole to pole.
Any of the longitudinal lines or pathways on the body along which the acupuncture points are distributed.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for meridian



An imaginary line forming a great circle that passes through the Earth's North and South geographic poles.
Either half of such a circle from pole to pole. All the places on the same meridian have the same longitude. See illustration at longitude.
See celestial meridian.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for meridian



A great imaginary circle on the surface of the Earth that runs north and south through the North Pole and South Pole. Longitude is measured on meridians: places on a meridian have the same longitude. (See prime meridian.)

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.