\ 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

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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 event known as the Great Conjunction or Star of Bethlehem occurs when planets Jupiter and Saturn appear exceptionally close in the sky, creating a shining orb that looks like a single star. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Christmas Star 2020: How to see great conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn if you missed it Monday," 22 Dec. 2020 Synced to the Core meditation app, this Bluetooth handheld orb will vibrate and light up to guide the user's breathing and focus. Matt Jancer, Wired, "16 Stress-Relieving Gifts to Make 2020 More Bearable," 18 Nov. 2020 About 5 billion years from now, our sun—that glowing, life-giving, seemingly immutable orb—will start to die. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Loneliest Planets in the Galaxy," 29 Oct. 2020 During this moon phase, when the orb is hidden in the night sky, we're being given an incredibly powerful — and much-needed — opportunity to reset. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, "The Magical New Moon In Scorpio Is Just What We Need," 14 Nov. 2020 On his first foreign trip as commander in chief, President Trump went to Saudi Arabia and touched an orb. Washington Post, "Trump’s defeat is a blow for the world’s demagogues and dictators," 10 Nov. 2020 Inside, wrapped in paper towels, were the three items of gold jewelry: the bangle and the faceted ring, both later confirmed to be from the ninth century, and the crystal orb, which is from the fifth or sixth century. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "The Curse of the Buried Treasure," 9 Nov. 2020 But the Echo isn’t a giant orb that feels out of place. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Amazon packs bold sound and smart home brains into the spherical Echo," 22 Oct. 2020 So, at just shy of $100, does the orb design and upgraded internal hardware make the Echo shine? Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Amazon packs bold sound and smart home brains into the spherical Echo," 22 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The pearlescent orbs warm up your face in a way that's more natural thanks to varying shades and a little shimmer. Hannah Morrill, Marie Claire, "These Are the Exact Products You Need for the Glowiest Skin of Your Life," 30 June 2016

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.

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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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Time Traveler for orb

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for orb

Cite this Entry

“Orb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orb. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for orb



English Language Learners Definition of orb

literary : something (such as a planet, the sun, or the moon) that is shaped like a ball
: a gold ball with a cross on top that is carried by a king or queen on formal occasions as a symbol of power and justice


\ ˈȯrb How to pronounce orb (audio) \

Kids Definition of orb

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

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Comments on orb

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