American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The full moon that occurs nearest the autumnal equinox.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. At that season the moon, when nearly full, rises for several consecutive nights at about the same hour, so that there is an unusual proportion of moonlight evenings. The phenomenon is more striking in higher latitudes than in the United States, and disappears entirely in the tropics. It is most marked when the ascending node of the moon's orbit is at or near the vernal equinox, as it will be in 1894. The phenomenon is due to the fact that at the time of the autumnal equinox the full moon (necessarily opposite to the sun) is in that part of its orbit which makes the least possible angle with the eastern horizon at the point where the moon rises.
- n. The first full moon of autumn by a tropical year.
- n. The full moon nearest the autumn equinox, when the moon rises the latest and lowest in the sky and seems to appear the biggest, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. the moon near the full at the time of harvest in England, or about the autumnal equinox, when, by reason of the small angle that is made by the moon's orbit with the horizon, it rises nearly at the same hour for several days.
- n. the full moon nearest the September equinox
- Extra light provides longer hours for the harvesting that occurs in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year. (Wiktionary)
“An orange harvest moon lights the semideserted highway, and my confidence in my ability to reach home, all in one piece, grows with every mile left dissolved in my wake.”
“It seems there should have been a harvest moon that night, but not a cuff link of moonlight was in evidence.”
“The company adjourned with a rush, the rear being brought up by the poodle, who seemed quite used to the proceedings; and there under the verandah, framed with passion flowers and geraniums, the Doctor had gathered mats, rugs, cushions, and arm-chairs, for the party; while far up in the sky, a yellow-faced harvest moon looked down in awful benignity.”
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