atlas

noun
at·​las | \ ˈat-ləs How to pronounce atlas (audio) \

Definition of atlas

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 capitalized : one who bears a heavy burden
3a : a bound collection of maps often including illustrations, informative tables, or textual matter
b : a bound collection of tables, charts, or plates
4 : the first vertebra of the neck
5 plural usually atlantes\ ət-​ˈlan-​(ˌ)tēz How to pronounce atlas (audio) , at-​ \ : a male figure used like a caryatid as a supporting column or pilaster

called also telamon

Illustration of atlas

Illustration of atlas

atlas 5

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Word History of Atlas

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.

Examples of atlas in a Sentence

a road atlas of the U.S.
Recent Examples on the Web Krasker clicked from governments to mortgages to foreign debt, the entire atlas of credit. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Unwinding of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Has Few Systemic Implications," 30 Mar. 2021 It’s an atlas, a tour guide and a wonderful explainer of some of the city’s unique traditions and social eccentricities. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, "Total SF is launching a book club. Tell us what to read next," 26 Mar. 2021 An international team of experts warned that humans will be unable to control superintelligent AI, and Cornell researchers published an atlas of the winds. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Findings," 16 Mar. 2021 The Allen Institute maintains its own human brain atlas, which provides structural data at slightly lower resolution than that of the latest study but includes extensive annotations and maps of gene expression. Helen Shen, Scientific American, "Whole Human Brain Mapped in 3-D," 21 June 2013 Consider buying an atlas, because the market isn’t providing much. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, "Compass Check: Choppiness Continues With Direction Lacking Ahead Of Key Jobs Data," 3 Mar. 2021 But completing another atlas at such a high resolution would create about 20,000 trillion bytes of data — more than the most advanced computers today could process efficiently, says Amunts. Helen Shen, Scientific American, "Whole Human Brain Mapped in 3-D," 21 June 2013 So in 2011, my team started creating an atlas of the region’s floods and dry spells going back 600 years. Sandra Gutierrez G., Popular Science, "Trees hold the secrets to centuries of climate data," 22 Feb. 2021 Astronomers have mapped the most extensive atlas of our Milky Way galaxy yet, including the positions of each and every one of those stars. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Gaia space observatory maps nearly 2 billion stars in Milky Way galaxy," 3 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atlas.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of atlas

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for atlas

Latin Atlant-, Atlas, from Greek

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Statistics for atlas

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Atlas.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atlas. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for atlas

atlas

noun

English Language Learners Definition of atlas

: a book of maps

atlas

noun
at·​las | \ ˈat-ləs How to pronounce atlas (audio) \

Kids Definition of atlas

: a book of maps

atlas

noun
at·​las | \ ˈat-ləs How to pronounce atlas (audio) \

Medical Definition of atlas

: the first vertebra of the neck

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More from Merriam-Webster on atlas

Nglish: Translation of atlas for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atlas for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about atlas

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