Definitions

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

  • n. Astronomy Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun.
  • n. Astronomy Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth.
  • n. Astronomy The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line.
  • n. The combining of two feet into a single metrical unit in classical prosody.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A kind of unity, namely an alignment of three celestial bodies (for example, the Sun, Earth, and Moon) such that one body is directly between the other two, such as occurs at an eclipse
  • n. An archetypal pairing of contrasexual opposites, symbolizing the communication of the conscious and unconscious minds
  • n. A relation between generators of a module
  • n. The fusion of some or all of the organs
  • n. The association of two protozoa end-to-end or laterally for the purpose of asexual exchange of genetic material
  • n. The pairing of chromosomes in meiosis

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The point of an orbit, as of the moon or a planet, at which it is in conjunction or opposition; -- commonly used in the plural.
  • n. The coupling together of different feet.
  • n.
  • n. Any one of the segments of an arm of a crinoid composed of two joints so closely united that the line of union is obliterated on the outer, though visible on the inner, side.
  • n. The immovable union of two joints of a crinoidal arm.
  • n. The intimately united and apparently fused condition of certain low organisms during conjugation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In astronomy, the conjunction or opposition of a planet with the sun, or of any two of the heavenly bodies. On the phenomena and circumstances of the syzygies depends a great part of the lunar theory.
  • n. In ancient prosody, a group or combination of two feet.
  • n. In algebra, a linear function in the variables. See syzygetic.
  • n. In zoology, the conjunction of two organs or organisms by close adhesion and partial concrescence, without loss of their identity; also, the thing so formed, or the resulting conformation; a syzygium: a term variously applied.

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

  • n. the straight line configuration of 3 celestial bodies (as the sun and earth and moon) in a gravitational system

Etymologies

Late Latin sȳzygia, from Greek suzugiā, union, from suzugos, paired : sun-, su-, syn- + zugon, yoke.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin syzygia ("conjunction"), from Ancient Greek σύζυγος (syzygos, "yoked together"). This word was recognized as English in 1847 (astronomically). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And I do not think this set of paired opposites, this syzygy, is unique to me.

    notes from the peanut gallery

  • I used to love the word syzygy because, in the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary, its definition (in the mathematical sense) went something like: "A group of rational, integral functions, which, when severally multiplied together, the sum of the products vanishes identically."

    BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition

  • Aww, I have liked the word syzygy for years now, and I AM surprised about its frequency in titles.

    A Word

  • Words are celebrated in vocabularic feats -- Page 117 alone delights a word-lover with "syzygy," "invigilator" and "fusee."

    Tom McCarthy's "C," reviewed by Samantha Hunt

  • He told her he had missed the word "syzygy" (in astronomy, an alignment of three celestial objects).

    IndyStar.com Top Stories

  • Apocalypse-averting dolphins make me feel syzygy all over.

    A Word

  • It was a syzygy, a rare alignment of heavenly bodies, and yes, it totally made my day.

    Stars AND Garters!

  • Now and then, however, the planets hit syzygy, everything lines up, and something not even in the realm of consideration on Monday pops up on Tuesday.

    Archive 2009-10-01

  • The syzygy of the conflict between the opposite poles created a process of change — the Holy Spirit, as the continual interaction of the Father and Son through time.

    The Tail Section » Expose and Lost Season Four Parallels

  • Rhythm and “syzygy” are the longest English words without vowels.

    21 Amazing Facts About Nintendo

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Comments

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  • There was an X-Files episode named this.

    June 22, 2012

  • Def: The harmonious alignment of the planets.

    September 15, 2009

  • Definition in the mathematical sense: "A group of rational, integral functions, which, when severally multiplied together, the sum of the products vanishes identically."

    July 14, 2009

  • This was almost the name of Atari.

    July 5, 2009

  • shortest word in english with three ys

    December 7, 2008

  • Wasn't this an NES game? Oh, no, that was Xexyz.

    October 29, 2008

  • "'Really, Sophie, you would think that a fellow of Stephen's parts, a prodigious natural philosopher, could be brought to understand the nature of the tide. Here is the moon at her perigee, in syzygy, and near the equator, as I showed you last night, and you smoked it directly, did you not?'

    "'Oh, perfectly, my dear,' said Sophie, looking wild: at least she had a clear recollection of the pale crescent over Porchester Castle..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 24

    February 11, 2008

  • Zoology parlance - of which I am familiar - the breakpoint in a starfish's arm.

    November 13, 2007

  • The alignment of any three celestial bodies.

    October 31, 2007

  • That Sturgeon story was my first encounter with syzygy, too!

    October 12, 2007

  • What a wonderful word. Isn't it gorgeous. I first came across it in a science fiction stories book by Theodore Sturgeon. The story was called "It wasn't Syzygy".

    September 10, 2007

  • Became acquainted with this word a few years ago when wine tasting in Walla Walla WA--there is a winery with that name. As I recall, the winemaker (unsurprisingly) had a great love of astonomy, and explained the term in some detail.

    June 13, 2007

  • But regular Scrabble also has two blank tiles for just such emergencies.

    May 26, 2007

  • I know this from the X-Files episode of the same name - anyone with me?

    May 6, 2007

  • > Now *here's* a word it's good to know when playing Scrabble.

    Only if you are playing Super Scrabble. Regular Scrabble has only 2 tiles of the letter Y.

    April 4, 2007

  • Wow. Now *here's* a word it's good to know when playing Scrabble.

    February 2, 2007

  • I like Vladimir Solovyovs use of this word

    December 6, 2006

  • Great word for hangman.

    December 3, 2006