\ 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

ball, globe, sphere

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Examples of orb in a Sentence


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

An enormous, fiery sky-orb of shame humiliates us daily by illuminating our physical flaws. Alex Baia Thatcher Jensen, The New Yorker, "Conspiracy Theories for the Ultra-Rational," 7 June 2019 One sculpture with an orb of hair around its head is based off of the Fall 2016 Rick Owens show. Vogue, "Rick Owens and Estonian Rapper Tommy Cash Stage a Wonderfully Weird Exhibition," 3 May 2019 Workers in cherry pickers adorned the majestic tree with sparkling lights and gold orb ornaments. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "How the Royal Family Decorates Their Palaces for the Holidays," 11 Dec. 2018 Over the past decade, the singer/actress has worn everything from the brightest color orb as a dress to a muted couture that would put old Hollywood to shame. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Lady Gaga Matched Her Hair EXACTLY to Her Dress," 7 Jan. 2019 The original Crackdown was an expansive shooter with a mechanic that saw players hunting orbs to progress and upgrade their skills. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft reveals Crackdown 3 will launch on February 15th, 2019," 10 Nov. 2018 Veterinarians determined that the bullet had traveled through Winx’s left orb, leaving fragments. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Indiana patrol officer rescues, later adopts dog after finding it shot in face, covered in bleach," 15 July 2018 Around the base of each of those gigantic plants is a tiny ecosystem of other fauna, from glowing yellow flowers to pulsating green orbs that move like liquid inside of a hard shell. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "No Man’s Sky travel diary: the final entry," 29 Aug. 2018 The lights can look like bluish flames, glowing orbs or quick flashes similar to regular lightning. Caroline Picard, House Beautiful, "Watch the Mesmerizing "Earthquake Lights" That Lit Up New Zealand's Sky," 14 Nov. 2016

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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Statistics for orb

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orb

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on orb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with orb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for orb

Spanish Central: Translation of orb

Nglish: Translation of orb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of orb for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about orb

Comments on orb

What made you want to look up orb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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