noun Vo·lans \ˈvō-ˌlanz\

Definition of Volans


  1. :  a southern constellation that is visible between the constellation of Carina and the southern celestial pole and that is represented by the figure of a flying fish Pieter Dirckszoon Keyzer and Frederick de Houtman, a pair of 16th-century Dutch navigators, charted the southern sky. Twelve of the new star patterns they devised eventually became part of the official count. These late-model constellations symbolized exotic or legendary creatures of southern lands and seas—such as Grus (the Crane), Pavo (the Peacock), Tucana (the Toucan), and Volans (the Flying Fish)—and so heralded the Golden Age of Exploration while maintaining the tradition of celestial birds and beasts inherited from the Greeks. — E. C. Krupp, Sky And Telescope, May 2004

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!


First Known Use of volans


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up Volans? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


quaintly unconventional or refined

Get Word of the Day daily email!