parsec

noun
par·​sec | \ ˈpär-ˌsek How to pronounce parsec (audio) \

Definition of parsec

: a unit of measure for interstellar space that is equal to 3.26 light-years and is the distance to an object having a parallax of one second as seen from points separated by one astronomical unit

Examples of parsec in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In this new version, Greedo pulls the trigger first in a wild shot, missing Han by half a parsec. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "The Han and Greedo shooting scene changed again (and probably not the way you wanted)," 13 Nov. 2019 The image shows the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy Messier 87, which lies around 17 parsecs (55 million light years) from Earth. Zeeya Merali, Scientific American, "First Ever Picture of a Black Hole Scoops $3-Million Prize," 5 Sep. 2019 A parsec is a unit of distance, not time, so why would Solo use it to explain how quickly his ship could travel? Kyle Hill, WIRED, "How the Star Wars Kessel Run Turns Han Solo Into a Time-Traveler," 12 Feb. 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parsec.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of parsec

1913, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for parsec

parallax + second

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about parsec

Time Traveler for parsec

Time Traveler

The first known use of parsec was in 1913

See more words from the same year

Statistics for parsec

Cite this Entry

“Parsec.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parsec. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on parsec

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with parsec

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about parsec

Comments on parsec

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!