Definitions

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

  • noun Greek Mythology One of a race of monsters having the head, arms, and trunk of a man and the body and legs of a horse.
  • noun Astronomy Any of a group of icy asteroids that orbit the sun primarily in the region between Jupiter and Neptune, whose orbits they cross. Some centaurs appear to be more like comets than asteroids.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Greek myth, a monster, half man and half horse, descended from Ixion and Nephele, the cloud.
  • noun The constellation Centaurus.
  • noun In heraldry See sagittary.

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

  • noun (Class. Myth.) A fabulous being, represented as half man and half horse.
  • noun (Astron.) A constellation in the southern heavens between Hydra and the Southern Cross.

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

  • noun Greek mythology A mythical beast having a horse's body with a human head and torso in place of the head and neck of the horse.
  • noun astronomy An icy planetoid that orbits the Sun between Jupiter and Neptune (also capitalized).

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

  • noun a conspicuous constellation in the southern hemisphere near the Southern Cross
  • noun (classical mythology) a mythical being that is half man and half horse

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Latin Centaurus, from Greek Kentauros. Sense 2, from the official convention of naming such objects after the centaurs of Greek mythology, a practice derived from the fact that the first such object to be observed was named after Chiron.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin centaurus, from Ancient Greek κένταυρος (kentauros), from Κένταυρος (Kentauros, "a member of a savage race from Thessaly").

Examples

  • ˜Some centaur does not have a tail™ to be contradictories, but both to be false because the subject-term ˜centaur™ is empty.

    Stanisław Leśniewski

  • It's possible; a centaur is half-man, half-horse, and you can see what part of the horse they used to make it, and Mr. Cheney certainly has those qualities.

    Dick Cheney, the Unique Creature

  • He that thinks the name centaur stands for some real being, imposes on himself, and mistakes words for things.

    An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  • But it is not in that metaphysical sense of truth which we inquire here, when we examine, whether our ideas are capable of being true or false, but in the more ordinary acceptation of those words: and so I say that the ideas in our minds, being only so many perceptions or appearances there, none of them are false; the idea of a centaur having no more falsehood in it when it appears in our minds, than the name centaur has falsehood in it, when it is pronounced by our mouths, or written on paper.

    An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  • But it is not in that metaphysical sense of truth which we inquire here, when we examine, whether our ideas are capable of being true or false, but in the more ordinary acceptation of those words: and so I say that the ideas in our minds, being only so many perceptions or appearances there, none of them are false; the idea of a centaur having no more falsehood in it when it appears in our minds, than the name centaur has falsehood in it, when it is pronounced by our mouths, or written on paper.

    God, Aids & Circumcision

  • This may sound unlucky, but believe me, if you saw the chart of options for type-of-animal-into-which-your-soul-may-be-reborn you would realise that a centaur is waaay better than, say, a marmot.)

    Escapism.

  • Behind the centaur was a man with orange and black tiger fur streaking his face.

    Enchanted Ivy

  • Behind the centaur was a man with orange and black tiger fur streaking his face.

    Enchanted Ivy

  • The centaur was a harsh taskmistress - which was of course why she had been given the job.

    Labor Policy

  • Behind the centaur was a man with orange and black tiger fur streaking his face.

    Enchanted Ivy

Comments

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  • See this map for American pronunciation.

    April 10, 2008