Definition of syzygy
: the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system
syzygy was our Word of the Day on 12/13/2015. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
At first glance, syzygy appears to be a somewhat singular member of the English language. Despite its appearance, however, it does have etymological ties to a few words in Modern English. Syzygy can be traced to the Greek syzygos ("yoked together"), a combination of syn- ("with, together with") and zygon ("yoke"). Zygon is also the source of zygote ("a cell formed by the union of two gametes") and zygoma, which refers to several bones and processes of the skull, including the zygomatic bone (a.k.a., the cheekbone). Zygon is also related to the Old English geoc—the source of the Modern English yoke—and the Latin jungere, from which the English words join and junction are derived.
Origin and Etymology of syzygy
Late Latin syzygia conjunction, from Greek, from syzygos yoked together, from syn- + zygon yoke — more at yoke
First Known Use: circa 1847
Learn More about syzygy
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about syzygy
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up syzygy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).