\ 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 Enceladus, which is Saturn's sixth-largest moon and about 310 miles in diameter, is an icy orb believed to contain a deep subsurface ocean underneath its icy crust. Fox News, "New organic molecules discovered on Saturn moon Enceladus," 3 Oct. 2019 For 2020, 192 new crystals were added to the orb, which feature three pineapples to signify the traditional image of hospitality and goodwill. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Everything you need to know about the Times Square New Year's Eve ball," 31 Dec. 2019 Crowds gathered to gaze at the sky as the sun transformed into a dark orb for more than two minutes, briefly plunging the sky into darkness. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "Thousands witness rare 'ring of fire,' the last solar eclipse of the decade," 27 Dec. 2019 The end results of this catastrophe are the densest astrophysical objects known: a neutron star that squeezes several solar masses into a city-sized orb, or something even more extreme, a black hole. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "A Missing Neutron Star May Have Been Found after 30-Year Hunt," 25 Nov. 2019 Washington's Game 1 starter in the World Series against Houston has baseball's most unusual orbs: blue on the right, brown on the left, a condition known as Heterochromia iridis. Ronald Blum, chicagotribune.com, "The eyes have it: Max Scherzer embraces 2 different eye colors," 22 Oct. 2019 The harvest moon is often depicted as a big bright orange orb, but really any full moon always looks much bigger and more colorful when rising or setting than when overhead. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Mike Lynch: The harvest moon is shining bright this week," 15 Sep. 2019 The two-orb sconce sheds light in the back corner and directs the eye up the low sloped ceiling. BostonGlobe.com, "Turning space above the garage into a fun place to entertain - The Boston Globe," 5 Oct. 2019 The kit, which will retail for $100, comes with a limited-edition white or grey polyresin diffuser that looks like a natural stone orb, as well as an exclusive blend of essential oils designed by the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star, 40. Hannah Chubb, PEOPLE.com, "Kourtney Kardashian Is Selling a New 'Elevated and Simple' Scent Diffuser for $100," 24 Sep. 2019 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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Learn More about orb

Time Traveler for orb

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for orb

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Orb.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orb. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for orb


How to pronounce orb (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for orb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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