\ 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 Actually, the aggressively nonsensical Westworld finale winds up arguing that society will collapse without the sacred orb. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Why are all these science-fiction shows so awful?," 30 July 2020 Singaporeans have speculated for months about the origins of the mysterious orb floating on the waterfront next to the city's iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Apple’s ‘most ambitious’ new store is a departure from its signature design," 8 Sep. 2020 The giant glass orb—reflective during the day and illuminated at night—is a radical break from Apple’s conventional store designs. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Ikea promises ‘democratic’ design. Has its Virgil Abloh collaboration lived up?," 25 Aug. 2020 But while Gabriel was away, Jordan was reviewing the symbols on the orb and the translations. Dalene Rovenstine, EW.com, "The 100 recap: Echo reveals her true intentions," 6 Aug. 2020 Then a fireball erupts, followed by an orb of white that quickly expands from the blast zone. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "Here’s what the videos of the Beirut blast tell us about the explosion," 4 Aug. 2020 Tuesday and Wednesday will see the largest supermoon of the year as the lunar orb makes its closest approach to Earth in 2020. John Meyer, The Know, "The biggest supermoon of 2020 will shine Tuesday night," 6 Apr. 2020 Last year, for the first time, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project imaged a black hole, resembling an orb of darkness shrouded by a fiery, eye-of-Sauron-like halo. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "To Image a Black Hole Again, Scientists May Need to Put a Telescope on the Moon," 2 Apr. 2020 The former's noirish reboot in season 3 relegates great characters like Thandie Newton's Maeve behind bland tycoons controlled by a nefarious orb. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Why are all these science-fiction shows so awful?," 30 July 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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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

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Orb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orb. Accessed 24 Sep. 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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