[ awrb ]
/ ɔrb /
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See synonyms for: orb / orbed / orbs on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
to form into a circle or sphere.
Archaic. to encircle; enclose.
verb (used without object)
to move in an orbit.
to form into an orb or globe; round out.
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Origin of orb

First recorded in 1520–30, orb is from the Latin word orbis circle, disk, orb


orbless, adjectiveorblike, adjectiveun·orbed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does orb mean?

An orb is an object shaped like a sphere or globe.

We call most globe-shaped things balls or spheres. Orb is usually reserved for more poetic uses, or to convey a fantastical or sci-fi feel—a UFO might be described as an orb, for example.

Example: The movie shows the aliens traveling in an orb of light.

Where does orb come from?

The first records of the word orb in English come from the early 1500s. It comes from the Latin word orbis, meaning “circle” or “disk.” This word is also the basis of the word orbit—though technically the orbits of most planets are elliptical (oval-shaped).

An orb is any three-dimensional spherical figure (though less commonly it can refer to a plain two-dimensional circle). The word is sometimes used as a more poetic way to refer to what we usually call celestial bodies or heavenly bodies—planets, moons, and stars (since they are all spheres). It can also refer specifically to Earth, and was formerly used to mean “orbit.” More strangely, orb is used as a fanciful word for the eyeball. (But do yourself a favor and don’t refer to your eyes as orbs.) Most commonly, it’s used in place of ball or sphere to be poetic or convey a mysterious or mystical aura, as in She saw a glowing orb rise from the field and knew it was a friendly spirit. 

More specifically, orb is the name of a symbol used in royal regalia that’s the form of a ball topped with a cross. It is used to symbolize royal power.

Much less commonly, orb can be used as a verb meaning “to shape into a sphere” or “to move in an orbit.”

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What are some other forms related to orb?

  • orbless (adjective)
  • orblike (adjective)
  • unorbed (adjective)

What are some synonyms for orb?

What are some words that share a root or word element with orb

What are some words that often get used in discussing orb?


How is orb used in real life?

Orb can be used in many different ways to refer to spherical objects, but it is often used poetically as a fancier way of saying ball.



Try using orb!

Is orb used correctly in the following sentence?

The abstract sculpture is formed from thousands of brightly colored orbs, perhaps intended to symbolize atoms or cells.

How to use orb in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for orb

/ (ɔːb) /

to make or become circular or spherical
(tr) an archaic word for encircle

Word Origin for orb

C16: from Latin orbis circle, disc
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