solstice

noun
sol·​stice | \ˈsäl-stəs, ˈsōl-, ˈsȯl-\

Definition of solstice 

1 : either of the two points on the ecliptic at which its distance from the celestial equator is greatest and which is reached by the sun each year about June 21 and December 21

2 : the time of the sun's passing a solstice which occurs about June 21 to begin summer in the northern hemisphere and about December 21 to begin winter in the northern hemisphere

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Did You Know?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs on June 21 or 22 and the winter solstice on December 21 or 22. In the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, the solstices are exactly the opposite. For several days around the time of the solstices, the sun's appearance on the horizon at sunrise and sunset seems to occur at the same spot, before it starts drifting to the north or south again. Solstice gets its shine from sol, the Latin word for "sun." The ancients added sol to -stit- ("standing") and came up with solstitium. Middle English speakers shortened solstitium to solstice in the 13th century.

Examples of solstice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And to bond ahead of their on-screen journey, Kim and Miller took an expedition to a solstice ritual—on-foot and through the woods. Lilli Millhiser, Glamour, "Everyone Is Going to Be Talking About Fantastic Beasts Actress Claudia Kim," 14 Nov. 2018 During the winter and summer solstices, crowds flock to Stonehenge in the United Kingdom. Brian Resnick, Vox, "A brief scientific guide to the first day of spring.," 20 Sep. 2018 Holt, an environmental artist, placed her concrete tunnels at 90-degree angles, about 12 feet apart, to align with the sunrise and sunset of the summer and winter solstices. Anne Slowey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Fear and Self-Loathing in the American Southwest," 25 July 2018 Stonehenge is positioned in such a way as to mark the arrival of the summer solstice. Fox News, "German ‘Stonehenge’ site reveals 10 dismembered bodies of women, children," 1 July 2018 Right on time for the official kickoff of the sunny season, red carpet and street style stars alike broke out playful braids, humidity-proof waves, and smoldering eye makeup worthy of the summer solstice. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The 10 Best Beauty Looks: Week of June 25, 2018," 26 June 2018 In celebration of the summer solstice, June 21st has been declared Naked Hiking Day. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "8 Things to Know Before You Hike the Appalachian Trail," 25 June 2018 About 30 skiers jumped far into the evening of the summer solstice at the Karl Eid Ski Jumping Complex in Anchorage. Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News, "Is anything better than ski jumping under the midnight sun?," 23 June 2018 Yet the day of the solstice is not just another day, without real meteorological meaning. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "After the solstice, rain and gray skies," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solstice.' 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 solstice

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for solstice

Middle English, from Latin solstitium, from sol sun + -stit-, -stes standing; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at solar, stand

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Statistics for solstice

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for solstice

The first known use of solstice was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for solstice

solstice

noun

English Language Learners Definition of solstice

: one of the two times during the year when the sun is farthest north or south of the equator

solstice

noun
sol·​stice | \ˈsäl-stəs, ˈsōl-, ˈsȯl-\

Kids Definition of solstice

: the time of the year when the sun passes overhead the farthest north ( summer solstice , about June 22) or south ( winter solstice , about December 22) of the equator

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More from Merriam-Webster on solstice

Spanish Central: Translation of solstice

Nglish: Translation of solstice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solstice for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about solstice

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