\ i-ˈklips How to pronounce eclipse (audio) \

Essential Meaning of eclipse

1 : an occasion when the sun looks like it is completely or partially covered with a dark circle because the moon is between the sun and the Earth a total/partial solar eclipse an eclipse of the sun
2 : an occasion when the moon looks like it is completely or partially covered with a dark circle because the Earth's shadow is on it a total/partial lunar eclipse
3 : a loss of power, success, popularity, etc. the civilization's sudden/eventual eclipse The popularity of television led to the eclipse of the radio drama. See More Examplesan author who has fallen/gone into eclipse [=who has become much less popular] an artist whose reputation/career has long been in eclipseHide

Full Definition of eclipse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the total or partial obscuring of one celestial body by another
b : the passing into the shadow of a celestial body — compare occultation, transit
2 : a falling into obscurity or decline also : the state of being eclipsed his reputation has fallen into eclipse
3 : the state of being in eclipse plumage


eclipsed; eclipsing

Definition of eclipse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause an eclipse of: such as
b : to reduce in importance or repute
c : surpass her score eclipsed the old record

Illustration of eclipse

Illustration of eclipse


eclipse 1a: E earth, M moon in solar eclipse, P penumbra, S sun, U umbra

In the meaning defined above

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Examples of eclipse in a Sentence

Noun an eclipse of the sun The popularity of television led to the eclipse of the radio drama. an artist whose reputation has long been in eclipse Verb The sun was partially eclipsed by the moon. Train travel was eclipsed by the growth of commercial airlines.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During the eclipse the Moon will be in the constellation of Scorpius, and about 5° from an enormous star called Antares. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 17 May 2021 Here’s another lunar totality most easily seen from the Pacific Rim, though vast swathes of Asia will see the eclipse soon after moonrise, and both North and South Africa will get a similar view just prior to moonset. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 25 May 2021 Only a handful of states will have the opportunity to see the eclipse. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 21 May 2021 The career of Garrison Keillor, the folksy host who revived the American tradition of gathering every week in front of the radio, appears to be in something of an eclipse. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2021 It will be followed on the next New Moon—December 4, 2021—with that most dramatic kind of eclipse of all, a total lunar eclipse. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 11 June 2021 Coming up in the Cleveland area is a partial eclipse in October 2023, and a total eclipse in April 2024. David Petkiewicz, cleveland, 10 June 2021 Chicagoans witnessed a partial eclipse of the sun on Thursday morning, opportunely timed with the announcement of Adler Planetarium’s partial reopening. Maggie Prosser,, 10 June 2021 The eclipse will be visible from sunrise about 5:50 a.m. until 9:11 a.m. on June 10. Kyle Davidson, Detroit Free Press, 8 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Shatner will eclipse Funk's record by eight years and John Glenn's mark before that by 13. William Harwood, CBS News, 11 Oct. 2021 Peak winter prices in Japan and Korea could eclipse records set in early 2021, according to Valery Chow, the vice president of Wood Mackenzie. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 His two interceptions eclipse his entire total from last season. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, 14 Sep. 2021 If bidding reaches the high-end of that estimate, the sneakers will comfortably eclipse a similar pair of size 11 Mags that sold for $25,000 at Sotheby’s last year. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 13 Sep. 2021 But not even her historic medal can eclipse coronavirus protocols in a country grappling with continuing virus outbreaks and an economic crisis. Jim Gomez, Star Tribune, 28 July 2021 None, however, was high enough to eclipse the $50,000 mark from last summer. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 30 Sep. 2021 JPMorgan is the latest in a growing line of crypto market watchers to pile praise on ethereum, with some going as far as to predict ethereum will eventually eclipse bitcoin. Billy Bambrough, Forbes, 26 Sep. 2021 Federer, Osaka and Williams enjoy incomes from sponsorship deals that eclipse their tournament winnings, highlighting the potential payday that could be coming Raducanu's way. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 13 Sep. 2021

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eclipse


borrowed from Middle English eclipse, clips, borrowed from Anglo-French eclyps, eclypse, borrowed from Latin eclīpsis, borrowed from Greek ékleipsis "abandonment, failure, cessation, obscuring of a celestial body by another," from ekleípein "to leave out, abandon, cease, die, be obscured (of a celestial body)" (from ek- ec- + leípein "to leave, quit, be missing") + -sis -sis — more at delinquent entry 2


Middle English eclypsen, clypsen, derivative of eclipse eclipse entry 1, probably after Medieval Latin eclīpsāre or Middle French esclipser

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Time Traveler for eclipse

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near eclipse



eclipse plumage

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Statistics for eclipse

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eclipse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for eclipse


\ i-ˈklips How to pronounce eclipse (audio) \

Kids Definition of eclipse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a complete or partial hiding of the sun caused by the moon's passing between the sun and the earth
2 : a darkening of the moon caused by its entering the shadow of the earth
3 : the hiding of any heavenly body by another


eclipsed; eclipsing

Kids Definition of eclipse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause an eclipse of The sun was eclipsed by the moon.
2 : to be or do much better than : outshine The racer's time eclipsed the old record.

More from Merriam-Webster on eclipse

Nglish: Translation of eclipse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eclipse for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about eclipse


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