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Rigel

[rahy-juh l, -guh l]
noun Astronomy.
  1. a first-magnitude star in the constellation Orion.
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Origin of Rigel

First recorded in 1585–95, Rigel is from the Arabic word rijl foot, so called from its position in the left foot of the figure of Orion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rigel

Historical Examples

  • I ran to the side window, only to find my eyes blinded by Rigel's blaze.

    Out Around Rigel

    Robert H. Wilson

  • Then we had landed, and almost at the same moment Rigel set.

    Out Around Rigel

    Robert H. Wilson

  • Canopus and Deneb, Rigel and Procyon, he would visit them all.

    Starman's Quest

    Robert Silverberg

  • But for Rigel the fourth boat picked up might have been run down by the Carpathia.

  • Smyth mentions Rigel as a test for a 4-inch aperture, with powers of from 80 to 120.


British Dictionary definitions for rigel

Rigel

noun
  1. the brightest star, Beta Orionis, in the constellation Orion: a very luminous and extremely remote bluish-white supergiant, a double star. Visual magnitude: 0.12; spectral type: B8I
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Word Origin

C16: from Arabic rijl foot; from its position in Orion's foot
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 rigel

Rigel

bright star in Orion, 1590s, from Arabic Rijl Jauzah al Yusra "the Left Leg of the Central One," from rijl "foot."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rigel in Science

Rigel

[rījəl]
  1. A very bright, bluish-white supergiant star in the constellation Orion. It is a binary star, with an average apparent magnitude of 0.12. Scientific name: Beta Orionis.
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Word History: The history of astronomy owes much to Arabic scientists of the Middle Ages, who preserved the astronomical learning of ancient Greece and made improvements on it. The English names of many of the brightest stars in the heavens are Arabic in origin. The name of the supergiant star Rigel, for example, comes from the Arabic word for “foot” (the foot of the constellation Orion, that is). Some other important stars whose names are Arabic include Aldebaran, “the one following (the Pleiades)”; Betelgeuse, “hand of Orion”; Deneb, “tail” (of the constellation Cygnus, the swan); and Altair, “the flying eagle” (in the constellation Aquila, the eagle). The names of other stars are usually Greek or Latin, such as Antares or Sirius, as are the names of the constellations.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.