astronomy


astronomy
[13] Astronomy comes via Old French and Latin from Greek astronomíā, a derivative of the verb astronomein, literally ‘watch the stars’. Greek ástron and astér ‘star’ (whence English astral [17] and asterisk [17]) came ultimately from the Indo-European base *ster-, which also produced Latin stella ‘star’, German stern ‘star’, and English star. The second element of the compound, which came from the verb némein, meant originally ‘arrange, distribute’. At first, no distinction was made between astronomy and astrology. Indeed, in Latin astrologia was the standard term for the study of the stars until Seneca introduced the Greek term astronomia. When the two terms first coexisted in English (astrology entered the language about a century later than astronomy) they were used interchangeably, and in fact when a distinction first began to be recognized between the two it was the opposite of that now accepted: astrology meant simply ‘observation’, whereas astronomy signified ‘divination’. The current assignment of sense was not fully established until the 17th century. => ASTERISK, ASTRAL, STAR

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

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  • Astronomy — As*tron o*my, n. [OE. astronomie, F. astronomie, L. astronomia, fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? astronomer; asth r star + ? to distribute, regulate. See {Star}, and {Nomad}.] 1. Astrology. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck; And yet …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • astronomy — (n.) c.1200, from O.Fr. astrenomie, from L. astronomia, from Gk. astronomia, lit. star arrangement, from astron star (see ASTRO (Cf. astro )) + nomos arranging, regulating, related to nemein to deal out (see NUMISMATICS (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • astronomy — [n] study of the stars and planets other than Earth astrochemistry, astrography, astrolithology, astrometry, astrophysics, selenology, sky watching, stargazing, uranology; concept 349 …   New thesaurus

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  • astronomy — [ə strän′ə mē] n. [ME & OFr astronomie < L astronomia < Gr < astron, STAR + nomos, law: see NOMY] 1. the science of the universe in which the stars, planets, etc. are studied, including their origins, evolution, composition, motions,… …   English World dictionary

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