\ ˈȯrb How to pronounce orb (audio) \

Definition of orb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of the concentric spheres in old astronomy surrounding the earth and carrying the celestial bodies in their revolutions
2 archaic : something circular : circle, orbit
3 : a spherical body especially : a spherical celestial object
4 : eye
5 : a sphere surmounted by a cross symbolizing kingly power and justice


orbed; orbing; orbs

Definition of orb (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to form into a disk or circle
2 archaic : encircle, surround, enclose

intransitive verb

archaic : to move in an orbit

Synonyms for orb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of orb in a Sentence

Noun The moon was a silvery orb. out of the countless celestial orbs twirling in space, the planet Earth remains the only one we can call home, so perhaps we should take care of it
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The two planets will be so close together that their glare will create a single glowing orb. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 28 Apr. 2022 This family of orb-weaving spiders often live in communal groups of up to 300 individuals. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 26 Apr. 2022 Among the 155 pairs of orb-weaving spiders initially recorded, 152 males successfully catapulted. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 25 Apr. 2022 Two Philoponella prominens orb-weaving spiders mating. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 25 Apr. 2022 As the sun becomes an orange orb, the sky turns to lilac, and the many naked bodies, Black and bronze, curvy and chiseled, are brushed in gold. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2022 Photographs purporting to show the mine depicted what appeared to be a metallic orb with spikes. Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2022 Last year’s nest, a massive orb of branches and leaves lodged into the crown of a cottonwood tree, will need to be tidied before the female gets down to egg-laying business in the weeks ahead. Lilly Price, baltimoresun.com, 28 Feb. 2022 Each level is solved by moving forward and backward in time to manipulate elements of the garden and get a glowing orb past the obstacles, through time, and to the portal at the end of the level. Zoë Hannah, Wired, 20 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Despite it being named the Pink Moon, don't expect to see the giant orb in that exact shade. Skyler Caruso, PEOPLE.com, 13 Apr. 2022 To create a small foyer of sorts, Eckley hung silver orb planters that catch the light but don’t completely wall off the space from the rest of the garden. Deanna Kizis, Sunset Magazine, 14 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of orb


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1600, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for orb


Middle English, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French orbe, borrowed from Latin orbis "disk, circle, sphere, orbit," perhaps a derivative of an Indo-European verbal base *h3erbh- "turn, be turned over, undergo transfer," whence also Tocharian B yerpe "disk," Hittite harp- "change sides, change allegiance"

Note: See also etymology at orphan entry 1.


derivative of orb entry 1

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The first known use of orb was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Orb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orb. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for orb


\ ˈȯrb How to pronounce orb (audio) \

Kids Definition of orb

: something in the shape of a ball (as a planet or the eye)

More from Merriam-Webster on orb

Nglish: Translation of orb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of orb for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about orb


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