Definitions

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

  • noun The act or state of preceding; precedence.
  • noun Physics The motion of the axis of a spinning body, such as the wobble of a spinning top, when there is an external force acting on the axis.
  • noun Precession of the equinoxes.
  • noun A slow gyration of the earth's rotational axis around the pole of the ecliptic, caused by the gravitational pull of the sun, moon, and other planets on the earth's equatorial bulge.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of going before or of moving forward; advance.
  • noun Precedence.
  • noun In philology, a weakening of a vowel due to a change of accent; a change from a full strong vowel to a thinner one: opposed to progression.
  • noun In mech., the cyclic movement of the axis of rotation of a body which revolves about a free axis in a field of force. In order that precession shall occur the body must not be a homogeneous sphere and the axis of rotation must be inclined to the lines of force of the field.

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

  • noun The act of going before, or forward.
  • noun (Astron.) See under Lunisolar.
  • noun that part of the precession of the equinoxes which depends on the action of the planets alone.
  • noun (Astron.) the slow backward motion of the equinoctial points along the ecliptic, at the rate of 50.2″ annually, caused by the action of the sun, moon, and planets, upon the protuberant matter about the earth's equator, in connection with its diurnal rotation; -- so called because either equinox, owing to its westerly motion, comes to the meridian sooner each day than the point it would have occupied without the motion of precession, and thus precedes that point continually with reference to the time of transit and motion.

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

  • noun uncountable precedence
  • noun physics, countable The wobbling motion of the axis of a spinning body when there is an external force acting on the axis.
  • noun astronomy, uncountable The slow gyration of the earth’s axis around the pole of the ecliptic, caused mainly by the gravitational torque of the sun and moon.
  • noun Any of several slow changes in an astronomical body's rotational or orbital parameters.

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

  • noun the motion of a spinning body (as a top) in which it wobbles so that the axis of rotation sweeps out a cone
  • noun the act of preceding in time or order or rank (as in a ceremony)

Etymologies

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

[Late Latin praecessiō, praecessiōn-, from Latin praecessus, past participle of praecēdere, to go before; see precede.]

Examples

  • (The observed precession is really 5270 ''/century, but a painstaking calculation to subtract the disturbances from all the other planets gives the value of 43 ''.)

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  • Kunkle's re-examining of astrology is rooted in the Earth's "precession" -- put simply, the gravity-fueled change in orientation of the Earth's rotational axis.

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  • This phenomenon is known as the precession of the equinox, in other words, the backwards motion of the sun's equinox position.

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  • Another aspect of the precession is the length of winter and summer.

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  • It is also referred to as the precession of the equinoxes or the great year in a comprehensive dictionary.

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  • This effect is known as the precession of the equinox.

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  • There is also geodetic precession, which is a general-relativistic effect due to the curvature of spacetime about the Earth (and which would be present even if the Earth were not rotating).

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  • The date for this shift of ages derives from a phenomenon known as the precession of the equinox, which refers to the equinox moving backwards.

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  • This phenomenon is known as the precession of the equinox.

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  • The apparent orbits of the sun, moon, planets, and stars had been correctly observed, so that eclipses might be predicted, conjunction of planets calculated, and that {617} gradual movement of the sun through the signs of the zodiac known as the precession of the equinoxes, taken account of.

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