\ i-ˈklips How to pronounce eclipse (audio) \

Essential Meaning of eclipse

1 : an occasion when the sun looks like it is completely or partially covered with a dark circle because the moon is between the sun and the Earth a total/partial solar eclipse an eclipse of the sun
2 : an occasion when the moon looks like it is completely or partially covered with a dark circle because the Earth's shadow is on it a total/partial lunar eclipse
3 : a loss of power, success, popularity, etc. the civilization's sudden/eventual eclipse The popularity of television led to the eclipse of the radio drama. See More Examplesan author who has fallen/gone into eclipse [=who has become much less popular] an artist whose reputation/career has long been in eclipseHide

Full Definition of eclipse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the total or partial obscuring of one celestial body by another
b : the passing into the shadow of a celestial body — compare occultation, transit
2 : a falling into obscurity or decline also : the state of being eclipsed his reputation has fallen into eclipse
3 : the state of being in eclipse plumage


eclipsed; eclipsing

Definition of eclipse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause an eclipse of: such as
b : to reduce in importance or repute
c : surpass her score eclipsed the old record

Illustration of eclipse

Illustration of eclipse


eclipse 1a: E earth, M moon in solar eclipse, P penumbra, S sun, U umbra

In the meaning defined above

Examples of eclipse in a Sentence

Noun an eclipse of the sun The popularity of television led to the eclipse of the radio drama. an artist whose reputation has long been in eclipse Verb The sun was partially eclipsed by the moon. Train travel was eclipsed by the growth of commercial airlines.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Earth casts two shadows on the moon during the eclipse. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 3 Jan. 2022 Only a small sliver of the moon was visible during the eclipse as about 97% of the moon disappeared into Earth’s shadow as the sun and moon pass opposite sides of the planet, EarthSky reported. Staff And Wire Reports, oregonlive, 19 Nov. 2021 The eclipse will take place overnight on November 18 and 19, when the moon slips into Earth's shadow for 3 hours and 28 minutes, NASA said. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 18 Nov. 2021 Friday morning's forecast predicts Cincinnati will see temperatures of 32 degrees during the eclipse with 10-mile visibility and 0% cloud cover, according to Accuweather. Brooks Sutherland, The Enquirer, 18 Nov. 2021 Weather permitting, the event will be visible from any location where the moon appears above the horizon during the eclipse. Julia Musto, Fox News, 18 Nov. 2021 The eclipse will take place in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, Nov. 19. Leada Gore |, al, 17 Nov. 2021 During the eclipse, most of the light that will reach the lunar surface will have first have been filtered through Earth's atmosphere. Jamie Carter, Travel + Leisure, 17 Nov. 2021 The eclipse – which will shadow approximately 97% of the moon – will be one for the history books due to its unusually long duration. Julia Musto, Fox News, 18 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even at the low end of the price range, the deal would eclipse the record 4.9 trillion won that Samsung Life Insurance Co. raised in its IPO in 2010. Kwanwoo Jun, WSJ, 3 Jan. 2022 The frigid temperatures in Minnesota this weekend could very well eclipse the NHL's coldest outdoor game on record, the 2003 Heritage Classic between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens where temperatures dipped to zero degrees Fahrenheit. Mary Clarke, USA TODAY, 30 Dec. 2021 One of the people said the price was $375 million, which would eclipse the previous record for hotel sales in Washington. Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2021 The listing would eclipse the June IPO by XPeng Inc. as the largest ever for an EV maker IPO. Edward Ludlow, Fortune, 2 Nov. 2021 Whether wage gains eventually eclipse inflation — and why — will be crucial for economic policymakers. New York Times, 5 Nov. 2021 Featuring production by Erol Alkan and Giorgio Moroder and assists from Graham Coxon, Mike Garson, Tove Lo, Chai, Mark Ronson, and Ivorian Doll, Future Past should eclipse the No. 19 peak for their most recent effort, 2015’s Paper Gods. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 28 Oct. 2021 When our thoughts and feelings rule our objective experiences in the here and now, the misinterpretations eclipse our self-awareness. Bryan Robinson, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Although Trump couldn't eclipse Fox's regular lineup, at least for Newsmax, showing the former president live appeared to be a good business decision for the network. David Bauder, Star Tribune, 8 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eclipse.' 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 eclipse


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eclipse


borrowed from Middle English eclipse, clips, borrowed from Anglo-French eclyps, eclypse, borrowed from Latin eclīpsis, borrowed from Greek ékleipsis "abandonment, failure, cessation, obscuring of a celestial body by another," from ekleípein "to leave out, abandon, cease, die, be obscured (of a celestial body)" (from ek- ec- + leípein "to leave, quit, be missing") + -sis -sis — more at delinquent entry 2


Middle English eclypsen, clypsen, derivative of eclipse eclipse entry 1, probably after Medieval Latin eclīpsāre or Middle French esclipser

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Time Traveler for eclipse

Time Traveler

The first known use of eclipse was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near eclipse



eclipse plumage

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Statistics for eclipse

Last Updated

14 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Eclipse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for eclipse


\ i-ˈklips How to pronounce eclipse (audio) \

Kids Definition of eclipse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a complete or partial hiding of the sun caused by the moon's passing between the sun and the earth
2 : a darkening of the moon caused by its entering the shadow of the earth
3 : the hiding of any heavenly body by another


eclipsed; eclipsing

Kids Definition of eclipse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause an eclipse of The sun was eclipsed by the moon.
2 : to be or do much better than : outshine The racer's time eclipsed the old record.

More from Merriam-Webster on eclipse

Nglish: Translation of eclipse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eclipse for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about eclipse


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