Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


Jun 1, 2010
This week's theme
Words not named after the person they should be

This week's words
McKenzie
orrery
philippic
Buridan's ass
guillotine

orrery
Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

orrery

PRONUNCIATION:
(OR-uh-ree)

MEANING:
noun: A mechanical model of the solar system that represents the relative motions of the planets around the sun.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (1676-1731), who was given one of those models by John Rowley, a London instrument-maker. They were invented by George Graham c. 1700. The device would have been better named either after its inventor, Graham, or its maker, Rowley.

USAGE:
"The lamp at the center of the orrery demonstrates the way the sun lends light to the planets."
James Fenton; Sheridan the Revolutionary; The New York Review of Books; Feb 4, 1999.

"Even the nation's attic couldn't contain a 650-yard-long model of the solar system, so the Smithsonian Institution has put it outdoors, on the National Mall. 'Voyage: A Journey Through Our Solar System', a new permanent installation, represents the solar system at one 10-billionth its actual size. ...
"The stations within this giant orrery also feature porcelain information plaques with high-resolution, full-color images of the planets."
Eric P Nash; A Smithsonian Spin Through the Cosmos; The New York Times; Feb 10, 2002.

See more usage examples of orrery in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest", but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is. -Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2018 Wordsmith