[plee-uh-deez, plahy-]

plural noun

Classical Mythology. seven daughters of Atlas and half sisters of the Hyades, placed among the stars to save them from the pursuit of Orion. One of them (the Lost Pleiad) hides, either from grief or shame.
Astronomy. a conspicuous group or cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus, commonly spoken of as seven, though only six are visible.

Origin of Pleiades

1350–1400; Middle English Pliades < Latin Plīades < Greek Pleíades (singular Pleías); akin to pleîn to sail


[plee-uh d, plahy-uh d]


any of the Pleiades.
French Plé·iade [pley-yad] /pleɪˈyad/. a group of seven French poets of the latter half of the 16th century.
(usually lowercase) any group of eminent or brilliant persons or things, especially when seven in number. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pleiades

Historical Examples of pleiades

  • One of the stars in the constellation of the Pleiades is said to have disappeared.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • We glance carelessly at the sunrise, and get used to Orion and the Pleiades.

    The Biglow Papers

    James Russell Lowell

  • The Eskimos regard the Pleiades as a team of dogs in pursuit of a bear.

    A Field Book of the Stars

    William Tyler Olcott

  • When the Pleiades struck ground the impact was scarcely to be felt.

    The Galaxy Primes

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • Brownie was willing the Pleiades to this planet so hard that we all could taste it.

    The Galaxy Primes

    Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for pleiades



pl n

Greek myth the seven daughters of Atlas, placed as stars in the sky either to save them from the pursuit of Orion or, in another account, after they had killed themselves for grief over the death of their half-sisters the Hyades



pl n

a young conspicuous open star cluster approximately 370 light years away in the constellation Taurus, containing several thousand stars only six or seven of which are visible to the naked eyeCompare Hyades 1



a brilliant or talented group, esp one with seven members

Word Origin for pleiad

C16: originally French Pléiade, name given by Pierre de Ronsard to himself and six other poets after a group of Alexandrian Greek poets who were called this after the Pleiades 1



one of the Pleiades (stars or daughters of Atlas)
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 pleiades



late 14c., the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, transformed by Zeus into seven stars, from Latin Pleiades, from Greek Pleiades, perhaps literally "constellation of the doves" from a shortened form of peleiades, plural of peleias "dove" (from PIE root *pel- "dark-colored, gray"). Or perhaps from plein "to sail," because the season of navigation begins with their heliacal rising.

Old English had the name from Latin as Pliade. Mentioned by Hesiod (pre-700 B.C.E.), only six now are visible to most people; on a clear night a good eye can see nine (in 1579, well before the invention of the telescope, the German astronomer Michael Moestlin (1550-1631) correctly drew 11 Pleiades stars); telescopes reveal at least 500. Hence French pleiade, used for a meeting or grouping of seven persons.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pleiades in Science



A loose collection of several hundred stars in the constellation Taurus, at least six of which are visible to the unaided eye.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.