noun \ˈzō-dē-ˌak\

Definition of ZODIAC

a :  an imaginary band in the heavens centered on the ecliptic that encompasses the apparent paths of all the planets and is divided into 12 constellations or signs each taken for astrological purposes to extend 30 degrees of longitude
b :  a figure representing the signs of the zodiac and their symbols
:  a cyclic course <a zodiac of feasts and fasts — R. W. Emerson>
zodiac table

Examples of ZODIAC

  1. <a political candidate dealing with the never-ending zodiac of rubber-chicken dinners and meet and greets>

Origin of ZODIAC

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin zodiacus, from Greek zōidiakos, from zōidiakos, adjective, of carved figures, of the zodiac, from zōidion carved figure, sign of the zodiac, from diminutive of zōion living being, figure; akin to Greek zōē life
First Known Use: 14th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

The astrological images and symbols of the zodiac.—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Belt around the heavens extending about 9° on either side of the ecliptic. The orbits of the Moon and the major planets lie entirely within the zodiac. In astrology, each of 12 constellations along this circle is considered to occupy 1/12 (30°) of it. The positions of the Sun and planets when a person is born and their motion through these constellations are said to exert influence on his or her life, though precession of the equinoxes has shifted the constellations eastward, and the Sun no longer passes through them on the traditional dates: Aries, the ram (March 21–April 19); Taurus, the bull (April 20–May 20); Gemini, the twins (May 21–June 21); Cancer, the crab (June 22–July 22); Leo, the lion (July 23–August 22); Virgo, the virgin (August 23–September 22); Libra, the balance (September 23–October 23); Scorpius (see Scorpio), the scorpion (October 24–November 21); Sagittarius, the archer (November 22–December 21); Capricornus (see Capricorn), the goat (December 22–January 19); Aquarius, the water bearer (January 20–February 18); Pisces, the fish (February 19–March 20).


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