• synonyms


noun, plural syz·y·gies.
  1. Astronomy. an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet: Syzygy in the sun-earth-moon system occurs at the time of full moon and new moon.
  2. Classical Prosody. a group or combination of two feet, sometimes restricted to a combination of two feet of different kinds.
  3. any two related things, either alike or opposite.
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Origin of syzygy

1650–60; < Late Latin syzygia < Greek syzygía union, pair, equivalent to sýzyg(os) yoked together (sy- sy- + zyg-, base of zeugnýnai to yoke1 + -os adj. suffix) + -ia -y3
Related formssy·zyg·i·al [si-zij-ee-uh l] /sɪˈzɪdʒ i əl/, syz·y·get·ic [siz-i-jet-ik] /ˌsɪz ɪˈdʒɛt ɪk/, syz·y·gal [siz-i-guh l] /ˈsɪz ɪ gəl/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for syzygy

Historical Examples

  • In the case of free parasites, a well-developed cyst is secreted by the syzygy, which rotates and gradually becomes spherical.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 12, Slice 5


  • I have a sneaking friendliness even now for anyone to whom the word ‘syzygy’ carries no special meaning.

British Dictionary definitions for syzygy


noun plural -gies
  1. either of the two positions (conjunction or opposition) of a celestial body when sun, earth, and the body lie in a straight linethe moon is at syzygy when full
  2. (in classical prosody) a metrical unit of two feet
  3. rare any pair, usually of opposites
  4. biology the aggregation in a mass of certain protozoans, esp when occurring before sexual reproduction
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Derived Formssyzygial (sɪˈzɪdʒɪəl), syzygetic (ˌsɪzɪˈdʒɛtɪk) or syzygal (ˈsɪzɪɡəl), adjectivesyzygetically, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Late Latin syzygia, from Greek suzugia, from suzugos yoked together, from syn- + zugon a yoke
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 syzygy


"conjunction or opposition of a heavenly body with the sun," 1650s, from Late Latin syzygia, from Greek syzygia "yoke, pair, union of two, conjunction," from syzygein "to yoke together," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + zygon "yoke" (see jugular).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

syzygy in Medicine


  1. The association of gregarine protozoa end-to-end or in lateral pairing without sexual fusion.
  2. The pairing of chromosomes in meiosis.
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Related formssy•zygi•al (sĭ-zĭjē-əl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

syzygy in Science


  1. Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the Sun.
    1. Either of the two points in the orbit of the Moon when it lies in a straight line with the Sun and Earth. A new moon syzygy occurs when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth; a full moon syzygy occurs when the Earth is between the Moon and the Sun.
    2. The configuration of the Sun, Moon, and Earth when lying in a straight line.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.