zodiac

[ zoh-dee-ak ]
/ ˈzoʊ diˌæk /

noun

an imaginary belt of the heavens, extending about 8° on each side of the ecliptic, within which are the apparent paths of the sun, moon, and principal planets. It contains twelve constellations and hence twelve divisions called signs of the zodiac. Each division, however, because of the precession of the equinoxes, now contains the constellation west of the one from which it took its name.Compare sign of the zodiac.
a circular or elliptical diagram representing this belt, and usually containing pictures of the animals, human figures, etc., that are associated with the constellations and signs.
a circuit or round.

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Origin of zodiac

1350–1400; Middle English zodiaque < Latin zōdiacus < Greek zōidiakòs (kýklos) signal (circle), equivalent to zṓidi(on) animal sign (zô(ion) animal + -idion diminutive suffix) + -akos -ac

OTHER WORDS FROM zodiac

zo·di·a·cal [zoh-dahy-uh-kuh l] /zoʊˈdaɪ ə kəl/, adjectivenon·zo·di·a·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for zodiac

British Dictionary definitions for zodiac

zodiac
/ (ˈzəʊdɪˌæk) /

noun

an imaginary belt extending 8° either side of the ecliptic, which contains the 12 zodiacal constellations and within which the moon and planets appear to move. It is divided into 12 equal areas, called signs of the zodiac, each named after the constellation which once lay in itSee zodiacal constellation
astrology a diagram, usually circular, representing this belt and showing the symbols, illustrations, etc, associated with each of the 12 signs of the zodiac, used to predict the future
rare a complete circuit; circle

Derived forms of zodiac

zodiacal (zəʊˈdaɪəkəl), adjective

Word Origin for zodiac

C14: from Old French zodiaque, from Latin zōdiacus, from Greek zōidiakos (kuklos) (circle) of signs, from zōidion animal sign, carved figure, from zōion animal
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

Scientific definitions for zodiac

zodiac
[ zōdē-ăk′ ]

A band of the celestial sphere extending about eight degrees north and south of the ecliptic, representing the portion of the sky within which the paths of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets are found. In astrology, the zodiac is divided into 12 equal segments, each of which is named after a constellation through which the ecliptic passes in that region of the sky. The traditional beginning point of constellations is Aries, followed in calendrical order by Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. See also equinox.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for zodiac (1 of 2)

zodiac

A band of the sky along which the sun, the moon, and most of the planets move. It is divided into twelve parts, with each part named for a nearby constellation.

notes for zodiac

The twelve constellations, or signs, of the zodiac are important in astrology.

Cultural definitions for zodiac (2 of 2)

zodiac

The imaginary band in the sky through which the sun, the moon, and the planets appear to move. The twelve constellations in the band (Aquarius, Pisces, and so on) are the familiar signs of the zodiac used in astrology.

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.