Definitions

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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun In ancient prosody, a group or combination of two feet.
  • noun In algebra, a linear function in the variables. See syzygetic.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Astron.) 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.
  • noun (Gr. & L. Pros.) The coupling together of different feet.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The immovable union of two joints of a crinoidal arm.
  • noun The intimately united and apparently fused condition of certain low organisms during conjugation.
  • noun (Astron.) the straight line connecting the earth, the sun, and the moon or a planet, when the latter is in conjunction or opposition; -- used chiefly of the moon.

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

  • noun astronomy, astrology 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
  • noun psychology An archetypal pairing of contrasexual opposites, symbolizing the communication of the conscious and unconscious minds
  • noun mathematics A relation between generators of a module
  • noun medicine The fusion of some or all of the organs
  • noun zoology The association of two protozoa end-to-end or laterally for the purpose of asexual exchange of genetic material
  • noun zoology The pairing of chromosomes in meiosis

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Late Latin sȳzygia, from Greek suzugiā, union, from suzugos, paired : sun-, su-, syn- + zugon, yoke; see yeug- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin syzygia ("conjunction"), from Ancient Greek σύζυγος (syzygos, "yoked together"). This word was recognized as English in 1847 (astronomically).

Examples

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

    notes from the peanut gallery

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

    Archive 2004-05-01

  • 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

  • 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."

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz

  • 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

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Great word for hangman.

    December 3, 2006

  • I like Vladimir Solovyovs use of this word

    December 6, 2006

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

    February 2, 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

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

    May 6, 2007

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

    May 26, 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

  • 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

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

    October 12, 2007

  • The alignment of any three celestial bodies.

    October 31, 2007