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 \-mə-ˌter-ē\ adjective

cometic

play \kə-ˈme-tik, kä-\ adjective

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


First Known Use: before 12th century


COMET Defined for English Language Learners

comet

play
noun com·et \ˈkä-mət\

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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