Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A book or bound collection of maps, sometimes with supplementary illustrations and graphic analyses.
  • noun A volume of tables, charts, or plates that systematically illustrates a particular subject.
  • noun A large size of drawing paper, measuring 26 × 33 or 26 × 34 inches.
  • noun Architecture A standing or kneeling figure of a man used as a supporting column, as for an entablature or balcony.
  • noun Anatomy The top or first cervical vertebra of the neck, which supports the skull.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun [capitalized] One who supports a heavy burden; a mainstay; a ‘pillar.’
  • noun [Pl. atlantes (at-lan′ -tēz).] A male human figure serving as a column or pilaster. See atlantes.
  • noun [NL.] In anatomy, the first cervical vertebra, by which the skull articulates with the spinal column: so called because it supports the head, as Atlas was fabled to uphold the sky.
  • noun A bound collection of maps.
  • noun Hence A volume of plates or tables illustrative or explanatory of some subject.
  • noun A size of writing- or drawing-paper, 26 by 33 or 34 inches.
  • noun [NL.] In entomology, a large lamellicorn beetle of the family Scarabæidæ; the atlas beetle, Chalcosoma atlas, about 3 inches long, and of a brilliant metallic-green color.
  • noun A kind of satin: a word formerly used in the Levant and in India.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A rich kind of satin manufactured in India.
  • noun One who sustains a great burden.
  • noun (Anat.) The first vertebra of the neck, articulating immediately with the skull, thus sustaining the globe of the head, whence the name.
  • noun A collection of maps in a volume.
  • noun A volume of plates illustrating any subject.
  • noun A work in which subjects are exhibited in a tabular from or arrangement.
  • noun A large, square folio, resembling a volume of maps; -- called also atlas folio.
  • noun A drawing paper of large size. See under Paper, n.
  • noun see Atlas powder in the vocabulary; a blasting compound containing nitroglycerin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A bound collection of maps often including tables, illustrations or other text.
  • noun A bound collection of tables, illustrations etc. on any given subject.
  • noun especially of the human body A detailed visual conspectus of something of great and multi-faceted complexity, with its elements splayed so as to be presented in as discrete a manner as possible whilst retaining a realistic view of the whole.
  • noun topology A collection of top-dimensional subspaces, called charts, each homeomorphic to Euclidean space, which comprise the entirety of a manifold, such that intersecting charts' respective homeomorphisms are compatible in a certain way.
  • noun anatomy The uppermost vertebra of the neck.
  • noun One who supports a heavy burden; mainstay.
  • noun architecture A figure of a man used as a column; telamon.
  • noun paper A sheet of paper measuring 26 inches by 34 inches.

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

  • noun the 1st cervical vertebra
  • noun a figure of a man used as a supporting column
  • noun (Greek mythology) a Titan who was forced by Zeus to bear the sky on his shoulders
  • noun a collection of maps in book form

Etymologies

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

[After Atlas. Sense 1, probably from depictions of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders that appeared on the frontispieces of early works of this kind.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the name of the Ancient Greek mythological figure Ἄτλας (Atlas, "Bearer (of the Heavens)"), from τλῆναι (tlēnai, "to suffer”, “to endure”, “to bear").

Examples

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    June 27, 2011