comet

play
noun com·et \ˈkä-mət\

Definition of comet

  1. :  a celestial body that appears as a fuzzy head usually surrounding a bright nucleus, that has a usually highly eccentric orbit, that consists primarily of ice and dust, and that often develops one or more long tails when near the sun

cometary

play \ˈkä-mə-ˌter-ē\ adjective

cometic

play \kə-ˈme-tik, kä-\ adjective

Recent Examples of comet from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of comet

Middle English comete, from Old English cometa, from Latin, from Greek komētēs, literally, long-haired, from koman to wear long hair, from komē hair


COMET Defined for English Language Learners

comet

play
noun

Definition of comet for English Language Learners

  • : an object in outer space that develops a long, bright tail when it passes near the sun


COMET Defined for Kids

comet

play
noun com·et \ˈkä-mət\

Definition of comet for Students

  1. :  a small bright heavenly body that develops a cloudy tail as it moves in an orbit around the sun

History for comet

The tail of a comet looks rather like long hair streaming behind the head. The ancient Greeks named comets with the word komētēs, which means literally “long-haired.” This word comes from the noun komē, “hair on one's head” or “shock of hair.” The English word comet came from the Greek name for comets.


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