[ney-der, ney-deer]
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  1. Astronomy. the point on the celestial sphere directly beneath a given position or observer and diametrically opposite the zenith.
  2. Astrology. the point of a horoscope opposite the midheaven: the cusp of the fourth house.
  3. the lowest point; point of greatest adversity or despair.

Origin of nadir

1350–1400; Middle EnglishArabic naẓīr over against, opposite to (the zenith)
Related formsna·dir·al, adjective
Can be confusednadir zenith

Synonyms for nadir

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3. bottom, floor, foot, depths. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for nadir

base, floor, bottom

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British Dictionary definitions for nadir


  1. the point on the celestial sphere directly below an observer and diametrically opposite the zenith
  2. the lowest or deepest point; depthsthe nadir of despair

Word Origin for nadir

C14: from Old French, from Arabic nazīr as-samt, literally: opposite the zenith
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 nadir

late 14c., in astronomical sense, from Medieval Latin nadir, from Arabic nazir "opposite to," in nazir as-samt, literally "opposite of the zenith," from nazir "opposite" + as-samt "zenith" (see zenith). Transferred sense of "lowest point (of anything)" is first recorded 1793.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nadir in Science


  1. The point on the celestial sphere that is directly below the observer (90 degrees below the celestial horizon). Compare zenith.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.