sun sign

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noun Astrology.
the sign of the zodiac through which the sun moves for approximately 30 days each year as the signs rotate through the heavens along the elliptic.
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Origin of sun sign

First recorded in 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does sun sign mean?

In astrology, the term sun sign is another way to refer to a sign of the zodiac—one of the 12 constellations (called zodiacal constellations) that appear in a particular portion of the sky called the zodiac.

In astronomy, the zodiac is the band of sky along which the paths of the sun, the moon, and the planets appear to move.

The zodiac can be divided into 12 sections, each of which is named after a constellation. These include Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Leo, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius (Scorpio), Sagittarius, and Capricornus (Capricorn).

Despite its basis in astronomy, the word zodiac is mainly associated with and most often used in the context of astrology, in which it refers to a diagram (often a circular one) representing this belt and showing the symbols associated with each of the 12 constellations—these are the signs of the zodiac or zodiac signs. (These terms can also refer to one of the 12 sections into which the zodiac is divided.)

Astrology is the nonscientific practice in which the positions of heavenly bodies at certain times are thought to influence or be correlated with human behavior and events. For example, the position of the sun in a particular portion of the zodiac at the moment of a person’s birth is thought to correlate with their personality. This is usually what people are referring to when they talk about their sun sign or star sign or zodiac sign or often just sign (though some use the terms sun sign and star sign in different ways depending on their interpretation of astrology). The word horoscope can refer to a diagram of the heavens that maps the relative position of planets and the signs of the zodiac. It can also refer to a prediction based (or said to be based) on such a diagram.

In astrology, each sign has a corresponding symbol. Those used in Western astrology differ in some other cultures. For example, different ones are used in the Chinese zodiac.

Example: Apparently, my wife and I have sun signs that are supposed to be very incompatible—oh well, we get along great!

Where does sun sign come from?

The first records of the term sun sign come from the 1890s, not too long after the first records of its synonyms, sign of the zodiac and star sign. The word zodiac comes from the Greek zōidiakòs (kuklos), meaning “(circle) of signs.” It ultimately comes from zōidion, meaning “animal sign” or “carved figure,” from zōion, “animal.”

When ancient people looked up in the sky, they saw patterns in the stars that they thought looked like animals and other figures, such as a bull (Taurus), a lion (Leo), a scorpion (Scorpio), and an archer (Sagittarius). These patterns are what we call constellations, and the 12 of them that appear in what’s called the zodiac are known as the signs of the zodiac. All of this involved (and became part of) ancient mythology and the practice of trying to interpret events based on the position of the sun and other stars and heavenly bodies (which we now call astrology).

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What are some synonyms for sun sign?


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How is sun sign used in real life?

The term sun sign is used in the context of astrology, in which most people use it interchangeably with the terms star sign, zodiac sign, or simply sign.



Try using sun sign!

Which of the following constellations is NOT considered one of the sun signs?

A. Aquarius
B. Pisces
C. Orion
D. Aries

How to use sun sign in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sun sign

sun sign

another name for sign of the zodiac
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