Ptol·​e·​ma·​ic ˌtä-lə-ˈmā-ik How to pronounce Ptolemaic (audio)
: of or relating to the second century geographer and astronomer Ptolemy of Alexandria and especially to his belief that the earth is at the center of the universe with the sun, moon, and planets revolving around it
the Ptolemaic system
: of or relating to the Greco-Egyptian Ptolemies ruling Egypt from 323 to 30 b.c.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Reenactments of Cleopatra’s experience and anecdotes from Egyptian studies scholars help paint a clear picture of what life might have been like for the Ptolemaic royal. Ineye Komonibo,, 12 May 2023 The Ptolemaic model depicted planets moving around Earth in a big circle, known as a deferent, then going around a smaller circle while retrograding, called an epicycle. Carlie Procell, USA Today, 19 Apr. 2023 Images of the zodiac signs and their correlating constellations appear on pottery and sarcophagi from the Ptolemaic era. Christopher Parker, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Apr. 2023 And now, a new discovery is shedding light on perceptions of the ancient pharaoh during the Ptolemaic period, about 1,000 years after his death. Christopher Parker, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Mar. 2023

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

Word History


Greek Ptolemaikos, from Ptolemaios Ptolemy

First Known Use

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Ptolemaic was in 1661

Dictionary Entries Near Ptolemaic

Cite this Entry

“Ptolemaic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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