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
solstice was our Word of the Day on 12/21/2012. Hear the podcast!
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.
SOLSTICE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of solstice for English Language Learners
: one of the two times during the year when the sun is farthest north or south of the equator
SOLSTICE Defined for Kids
Definition of solstice for Students
: 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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