See more synonyms for sun on
  1. (often initial capital letter) the star that is the central body of the solar system, around which the planets revolve and from which they receive light and heat: its mean distance from the earth is about 93 million miles (150 million km), its diameter about 864,000 miles (1.4 million km), and its mass about 330,000 times that of the earth; its period of surface rotation is about 26 days at its equator but longer at higher latitudes.
  2. the sun considered with reference to its position in the sky, its visibility, the season of the year, the time at which or the place where it is seen, etc.
  3. a self-luminous heavenly body; star.
  4. sunshine; the heat and light from the sun: to be exposed to the sun.
  5. a figure or representation of the sun, as a heraldic bearing usually surrounded with rays and marked with the features of a human face.
  6. something likened to the sun in brightness, splendor, etc.
  7. Chiefly Literary.
    1. clime; climate.
    2. glory; splendor.
  8. sunrise or sunset: They traveled hard from sun to sun.
  9. Archaic.
    1. a day.
    2. a year.
verb (used with object), sunned, sun·ning.
  1. to expose to the sun's rays.
  2. to warm, dry, etc., in the sunshine.
  3. to put, bring, make, etc., by exposure to the sun.
verb (used without object), sunned, sun·ning.
  1. to be exposed to the rays of the sun: to sun in the yard.
  1. against the sun, Nautical. counterclockwise.
  2. place in the sun, a favorable or advantageous position; prominence; recognition: The new generation of writers has achieved a place in the sun.
  3. under the sun, on earth; anywhere: the most beautiful city under the sun.
  4. with the sun, Nautical. clockwise.

Origin of sun

before 900; Middle English sun, sonne, Old English sunne; cognate with German Sonne, Old Norse sunna, Gothic sunno; akin to Old Norse sōl, Gothic sauil, Latin sōl (see solar1), Greek hḗlios (see helio-), Welsh haul, Lithuanian saũlė, Polish słońce
Related formssun·like, adjective


or Sund Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sun

star, sunlight, shine, flare, daylight, tan, bask, sunrise, sol, aubade

Examples from the Web for sun

Contemporary Examples of sun

Historical Examples of sun

  • We always think the sun drops down away from us, but it stays still.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "I ordered the sun turned on at just this point," replied her husband, with a large air.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

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

  • When the sun arose in the morning he did not say "Behold another day."

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

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

British Dictionary definitions for sun


  1. the star at the centre of our solar system. It is a gaseous body having a highly compressed core, in which energy is generated by thermonuclear reactions (at about 15 million kelvins), surrounded by less dense radiative and convective zones serving to transport the energy to the surface (the photosphere). The atmospheric layers (the chromosphere and corona) are normally invisible except during a total eclipse. Mass and diameter: 333 000 and 109 times that of earth respectively; mean distance from earth: 149.6 million km (1 astronomical unit)Related adjective: solar
  2. any star around which a planetary system revolves
  3. the sun as it appears at a particular time or placethe winter sun
  4. the radiant energy, esp heat and light, received from the sun; sunshine
  5. a person or thing considered as a source of radiant warmth, glory, etc
  6. a pictorial representation of the sun, often depicted with a human face
  7. poetic a year or a day
  8. poetic a climate
  9. archaic sunrise or sunset (esp in the phrase from sun to sun)
  10. catch the sun to become slightly sunburnt
  11. place in the sun a prominent or favourable position
  12. shoot the sun or take the sun nautical to measure the altitude of the sun in order to determine latitude
  13. touch of the sun slight sunstroke
  14. under the sun or beneath the sun on earth; at allnobody under the sun eats more than you do
verb suns, sunning or sunned
  1. to expose (oneself) to the sunshine
  2. (tr) to expose to the sunshine in order to warm, tan, etc
Derived Formssunlike, adjective

Word Origin for sun

Old English sunne; related to Old High German sunna, Old Frisian senne, Gothic sunno


abbreviation for
  1. Sunday
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 sun

Old English sunne, from Proto-Germanic *sunnon (cf. Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old High German sunna, Middle Dutch sonne, Dutch zon, German Sonne, Gothic sunno), from PIE *s(u)wen- (cf. Avestan xueng "sun," Old Irish fur-sunnud "lighting up"), alternative form of root *saewel- "to shine, sun" (see Sol).

Old English sunne was fem., and the fem. pronoun was used until 16c.; since then masc. has prevailed. The empire on which the sun never sets (1630) originally was the Spanish, later the British. To have one's place in the sun (1680s) is from Pascal's "Pensées"; the German imperial foreign policy sense (1897) is from a speech by von Bülow.


1510s, "to set something in the sun," from sun (n.). Meaning "to expose oneself to the sun" is recorded from c.1600. Sun-bathing is attested from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sun in Science


  1. Often Sun. A medium-sized, main-sequence star located in a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, orbited by all of the planets and other bodies in our solar system and supplying the heat and light that sustain life on Earth. Its diameter is approximately 1,392,000 million km (865,000 mi), and its mass, about 330,000 times that of Earth, comprises more than 99 percent of the matter in the solar system. It has a temperature of some 5.7 million degrees C (28.3 million degrees F) at its core, where nuclear fusion produces tremendous amounts of energy, mainly through the series of reactions known as the proton-proton chain. The energy generated in the core radiates through a radiation zone to an opaque convection zone, where it rises to the surface through convection currents of the Sun's plasma. The Sun's surface temperature (at its photosphere) is approximately 6,200 degrees C (11,200 degrees F). Turbulent surface phenomena analogous to the Earth's weather are prevalent, including magnetic storms, sunspots, and solar flares. The Sun was formed along with the rest of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago and is expected to run out of its current hydrogen fuel in another 5 billion years, at which point it will develop into a red giant and ultimately into a white dwarf. See Table at solar system. See Note at dwarf star.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

sun in Culture


The star around which the Earth revolves.


The sun is about 4.5 billion years old and is expected to remain in its present state for approximately another six billion years; it will eventually evolve into a white dwarf.
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.

Idioms and Phrases with sun


In addition to the idiom beginning with sun

  • sun belt
  • sunny side

also see:

  • everything but the kitchen sink (under the sun)
  • make hay while the sun shines
  • nothing new under the sun
  • place in the sun
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.