Definition of eclipse in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈklips/


1An obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observer or between it and its source of illumination: an eclipse of the sun
More example sentences
  • I am upstate and the lack of light pollution makes the eclipse a sight to behold.
  • Later, the robot field geologist then took about a dozen images of the Sun to catch the eclipse by the Martian moon, Phobos before shutting down again for a little nap.
  • On average a total solar eclipse is visible from any location only once every few centuries.
blotting out, blocking, covering, obscuring, concealing, darkening;
Astronomy  occultation
1.1A loss of significance, power, or prominence in relation to another person or thing: the election result marked the eclipse of the traditional right and center
More example sentences
  • Further, the rise of British naval power and the continuing eclipse of the Dutch navy during the war meant that Britain was confirmed as a major trading nation and one of the strongest economies of Europe.
  • In short, the annulment has caused a backlash and the virtual eclipse of the power industry.
  • There is the already encountered line of analysis that the eclipse of Soviet military power was not an accomplishment of the West, but rather an outcome self-inflicted by Soviet and Russian economic failure.
decline, fall, failure, decay, deterioration, degeneration, weakening, collapse
2 Ornithology A phase during which the distinctive markings of a bird (especially a male duck) are obscured by molting of the breeding plumage: [as modifier]: eclipse plumage
More example sentences
  • This hypothesis would be supported if unpaired males in breeding plumage were more vigilant than unpaired males in cryptic eclipse plumage.
  • At this time of the year individuals have completed breeding and begin to molt into their brown eclipse plumage, and they are easy to accurately age as adult breeding males.
  • As the drake loses his bright plumage and acquires the more subdued feathering of the female, the bird appears to become hormonally sexually neutral and, for the remaining duration of the eclipse period, remains as a female.


[with object]
1(Of a celestial body) obscure the light from or to (another celestial body): as the last piece of the sun was eclipsed by the moon
More example sentences
  • And, the rover also ‘snapped’ an inspiring picture of the Martian moon Phobos as it eclipsed the Sun.
  • Hours after the Saturn-Pluto opposition, the Sagittarius Moon will eclipse the Gemini Sun.
  • The extent to which the Moon eclipses the Sun's disc increases the farther south one is of that curve.
1.1 literary Obscure or block out (light): a sea of blue sky violently eclipsed by showers
More example sentences
  • The Negotiator Class diplomatic cruiser eclipsed the light of a blue sun, highlighting battle worn scars along her hull like sunlight on a river.
  • Near the center of the darkness was a spherical, green and blue colored object, eclipsing the biggest light in the area.
  • Furry bodies eclipsed the fans of light spilling through the shutters, turning the scene surreal.
blot out, block, cover, obscure, hide, conceal, obliterate, darken;
Astronomy  occult
1.2Deprive (someone or something) of significance, power, or prominence: the state of the economy has eclipsed the environment as the main issue
More example sentences
  • By the twentieth century, Pompeii's metaphorical significance had largely eclipsed its moral charge.
  • If the European dream is quietly eclipsing the American dream, why are the Europeans touting China as the rising power that will eclipse the U.S?
  • He also observes that air power has completely eclipsed tanks' role as mobile artillery.
outshine, overshadow, surpass, exceed, outclass, outstrip, outdo, top, trump, transcend, upstage


in eclipse

1Losing or having lost significance, power, or prominence: his political power was in eclipse
More example sentences
  • After 1945 European power was increasingly in eclipse, although this was not always apparent to those who held power or to their supporters.
  • That idea has long been in eclipse, and today it lies outside the mainstream of political opinion.
  • At the end of WWI, with the Ottoman Empire in eclipse, they had the chance to expand influence in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Palestine etc and control both the geopolitics and the economy.
2 Ornithology (Especially of a male duck) in its eclipse plumage.
Example sentences
  • Some species, like the ruddy, remain in eclipse until the next breeding season.


Middle English: from Old French e(s)clipse (noun), eclipser (verb), via Latin from Greek ekleipsis, from ekleipein 'fail to appear, be eclipsed', from ek 'out' + leipein 'to leave'.

  • Eclipse comes via Old French and Latin from Greek ekleipsis which was formed from ekleipein ‘fail to appear, forsake its accustomed place’.

Words that rhyme with eclipse

Chips, ellipse, thrips

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: e·clipse

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