Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sphere or spherical object.
  • n. A celestial body, such as the sun or moon.
  • n. Archaic The earth.
  • n. One of a series of concentric transparent spheres thought by ancient and medieval astronomers to revolve about the earth and carry the celestial bodies.
  • n. A globe surmounted by a cross, used as a symbol of monarchial power and justice.
  • n. An eye or eyeball.
  • n. Archaic Something of circular form; a circle or an orbit.
  • n. Archaic A range of endeavor or activity; a province.
  • transitive v. To shape into a circle or sphere.
  • transitive v. Archaic To encircle; enclose.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To move in an orbit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spherical body; a globe; especially, one of the celestial spheres; a sun, planet, or star
  • n. One of the azure transparent spheres conceived by the ancients to be inclosed one within another, and to carry the heavenly bodies in their revolutions
  • n. A circle; especially, a circle, or nearly circular orbit, described by the revolution of a heavenly body; an orbit
  • n. A period of time marked off by the revolution of a heavenly body. --John Milton
  • n. The eye, as luminous and spherical
  • n. A revolving circular body; a wheel
  • n. A sphere of action. --William Wordsworth
  • n. A globus cruciger
  • n. A translucent sphere appearing in flash photography
  • v. to form into an orb or circle
  • v. (transitive) to encircle; to surround; to inclose
  • v. (intransitive) to become round like an orb

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A blank window or panel.
  • n. A spherical body; a globe; especially, one of the celestial spheres; a sun, planet, or star.
  • n. One of the azure transparent spheres conceived by the ancients to be inclosed one within another, and to carry the heavenly bodies in their revolutions.
  • n. A circle; esp., a circle, or nearly circular orbit, described by the revolution of a heavenly body; an orbit.
  • n. A period of time marked off by the revolution of a heavenly body.
  • n. The eye, as luminous and spherical.
  • n. A revolving circular body; a wheel.
  • n. A sphere of action or influence.
  • n. Same as Mound, a ball or globe. See 1st Mound.
  • n. A body of soldiers drawn up in a circle, as for defense, esp. infantry to repel cavalry.
  • intransitive v. To become round like an orb.
  • transitive v. To form into an orb or circle.
  • transitive v. To encircle; to surround; to inclose.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To inclose as in an orb; encircle; surround; shut up.
  • To move as in a circle; roll as an orb: used reflexively.
  • To form into a circle or sphere; make an orb.
  • To become an orb or like an orb; assume the shape, appearance, or qualities of a circle or sphere; fill out the space of a circle or sphere; round itself out.
  • Bereaved, especially of children.
  • n. A blank window or panel.
  • n. A circle; a circular surface, track, path, or course; an orbit; a ring; also, that which is circular, as a shield: as, the orb of the moon.
  • n. A sphere or spheroidal body; a globe; a ball.
  • n. Hence The earth or one of the heavenly bodies; in particular, the sun or the moon.
  • n. The eye; an eyeball: so called from its spheroidal shape, and the comparison between its luminous brilliancy and that of the stars.
  • n. A hollow globe; specifically, in ancient astronomy, a hollow globe or sphere supposed to form part of the solar or sidereal system.
  • n. The globe forming part of royal regalia; the monde or mound.
  • n. In astrology, the space within which the astrological influence of a planet or of a house is supposed to act.
  • n. In architecture, a plain circular boss. See boss, 5.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move in an orbit
  • n. an object with a spherical shape
  • n. the ball-shaped capsule containing the vertebrate eye

Etymologies

Middle English orbe, orbit, from Old French, from Latin orbis, circle, disk, orbit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French orbe, from Latin orbis ("circle, orb"). Compare orbit. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "One of them was the African. Now wearing a white coat. With her in two hundred tiny braids. But it was still her. Her forehead was rounded like an orb. Above a beautiful mocha-coloured continent."
    - 'The Quiet Girl', Peter Høeg.

    March 19, 2008