an·​a·​lem·​ma ˌa-nə-ˈle-mə How to pronounce analemma (audio)
plural analemmas
: a plot or graph in the shape of a figure eight that shows the position of the sun in the sky at a given time of day (such as noon) at one specific locale measured throughout the year
Affix a camera to a sturdy mount … and take a photo of the Sun at a particular time of day. Sounds simple enough. Do this regularly throughout a calendar year and you'll end up with a picture of the analemma, the Sun's apparent path in our sky throughout the year.Astronomy
also : a scale (as on a globe or sundial) based on such a plot that shows the sun's position for each day of the year or that allows local mean time to be determined
analemmatic adjective
Her preliminary designs include such things as a kind of interactive sundial, known as an analemmatic sundial, in which a participating child will be able to stand in a certain spot and have his shadow mark the hour of the day. The Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican

Examples of analemma in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The analemma plays into the sunrise and sunset times. Katie Peek, Popular Science, 21 Dec. 2020 Skylights filter natural light while tracking the days on an analemma — a sun calendar embedded in the quartzite-stone floor in the living room. Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2020

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

Word History


Latin, sundial on a pedestal, from Greek analēmma, lofty structure, sundial, from analambanein to take up, restore, from ana- + lambanein to take — more at latch

First Known Use

1969, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of analemma was in 1969

Dictionary Entries Near analemma

Cite this Entry

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

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