Co·​per·​ni·​can kə-ˈpər-ni-kən How to pronounce Copernican (audio)
: of or relating to Copernicus or the belief that the earth rotates daily on its axis and the planets revolve in orbits around the sun
: of radical or major importance or degree
effected a Copernican revolution in philosophyThe Times Literary Supplement (London)
Copernican noun
Copernicanism noun

Examples of Copernican in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It's been a Copernican moment, akin to the demotion of the Earth from the center of the universe. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 16 Nov. 2023 By the 1950s, the traditional Copernican orrery was in need of an electronic upgrade. IEEE Spectrum, 1 Oct. 2023 Raskin believes that the ability to eavesdrop on animals will spur nothing less than a paradigm shift as historically significant as the Copernican revolution. Camille Bromley, WIRED, 29 Aug. 2023 The implications of the Copernican principle may sound depressing to anyone who prefers a view of the world regarding humankind as the central or most important element of existence, but notice that every step along the way in extending the Copernican principle represented a major human discovery. Mario Livio, Scientific American, 19 Apr. 2023 Believe it or not, the Copernican principle doesn’t even end there. Mario Livio, Scientific American, 19 Apr. 2023 If parallaxes were easier to measure, the Copernican revolution might have happened sooner. Quanta Magazine, 17 Dec. 2020 Yellow, for instance, indicates rock from the moon’s (current) Copernican period, which began a billion years ago, Ryan F. Mandelbaum reports for Gizmodo. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Apr. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Copernican.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Nicolaus Copernicus

First Known Use

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Copernican was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near Copernican

Cite this Entry

“Copernican.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


Co·​per·​ni·​can kō-ˈpər-ni-kən How to pronounce Copernican (audio)
: of or relating to Copernicus or his theory that the earth rotates daily on its axis and the planets revolve in orbits around the sun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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