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


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orbed; orbing; orbs

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

archaic : to move in an orbit

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
Those wishes, depicted as glowing glass orbs — like floating Christmas ornaments — go into a kind of cold storage, never to be returned to their makers. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2023 According to the project documents, the orb would be built onto an existing apartment building whose entrance is on De Longpre Avenue, which runs parallel to Sunset Boulevard. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 Star-Lord, steals a mysterious orb but soon has bounty hunters and the forces of Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) on his tail. Jacqueline Weiss, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 As the gleaming orb sank behind the Con Ed clock tower, blue sky melting into gold, dramatic rays backlighting cotton-ball clouds, applause went up, accompanied by cheers. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2023 Thomas predicts the new moon will send energy throughout your family and domestic orb, therefore prompting a sudden move or fix-up of space. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 2 Nov. 2023 Every purchase this season includes a tiny orb that reflects a memory from the year. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 18 Oct. 2023 The lodge's six villas, shaped like oblong orbs with thatched roofs, are an intriguing blend of sci-fi and rustic; their sinuous balconies flow with nature rather than defy it. Noo Saro-Wiwa, Condé Nast Traveler, 13 Oct. 2023 The residency began on Sept. 29 at the venue that houses a 16K wraparound LED screen and 167,000 speakers inside the 366-foot-tall orb just east of the Las Vegas Strip. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 20 Oct. 2023
Among other unexplained events, staff have reported doors closing of their own accord, elevators stopping at various floors for no reason, ghostly orbs, and a strange scent of hospital antiseptic. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 27 Aug. 2023 Expect to see the king and queen donning some of the most sacred items in the Crown Jewels collection, from the famous sceptres and orb to their priceless royal crowns. Harper's BAZAAR, 6 May 2023 Twelve different patch notes were added to the list after the fact, including nerfs to orb generation from certain mods and nerfs to a certain kind of grapple playstyle. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2023 In two investigations, published on back-to-back days in April 2022 by BuzzFeed News and MIT Tech Review, journalists alleged that Worldcoin trials in developing countries were riddled with deceptive promises made both to orb operators and participants. Leo Schwartz, Fortune Crypto, 21 Mar. 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'orb.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1600, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near orb

Cite this Entry

“Orb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orb. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

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