atlas

play
noun at·las \ˈat-ləs\

Definition of atlas

  1. 1 capitalized :  a Titan who for his part in the Titans' revolt against the gods is forced by Zeus to support the heavens on his shoulders

  2. 2 capitalized :  one who bears a heavy burden

  3. 3 a :  a bound collection of maps often including illustrations, informative tables, or textual matter b :  a bound collection of tables, charts, or plates

  4. 4 :  the first vertebra of the neck

  5. 5 plural usually atlantes play \ət-ˈlan-(ˌ)tēz, at-\ :  a male figure used like a caryatid as a supporting column or pilaster —called also telamon

Examples of atlas in a sentence

  1. a road atlas of the U.S.

Did You Know?

In Greek mythology, giants ruled the world in an early age. Their rule was overthrown after a mighty battle with other gods. Atlas was one of these giants, and after their defeat, the story goes, he was forced to hold up the sky on his shoulders. In the 16th century, the Flemish mapmaker Gerardus Mercator published a collection of maps. On the title page he showed a picture of Atlas supporting his burden. Mercator gave the book the title Atlas. Later collections of maps included similar pictures of Atlas, and came to be called atlases.

Illustration of atlas

Origin and Etymology of atlas

Latin Atlant-, Atlas, from Greek


First Known Use: 1513


ATLAS Defined for English Language Learners

atlas

play
noun at·las \ˈat-ləs\

Definition of atlas for English Language Learners

  • : a book of maps


ATLAS Defined for Kids

atlas

play
noun at·las \ˈat-ləs\

Definition of atlas for Students

  1. :  a book of maps


Medical Dictionary

atlas

play
noun at·las \ˈat-ləs\

Medical Definition of atlas

  1. :  the first vertebra of the neck

Biographical Note for atlas

Atlas,

, Greek mythological character. In Greek legend Atlas was a Titan who took part in the revolt against the gods. As a punishment he was condemned to hold the heavens aloft forever. Atlas was usually represented as a human figure bearing the heavens or the celestial globe upon his shoulders.


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