Definition of eclipse in English:


Line breaks: eclipse
Pronunciation: /ɪˈklɪps


  • 2 Ornithology A phase during which the distinctive markings of a bird (especially a male duck) are obscured by moulting of the breeding plumage: [as modifier]: eclipse plumage
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    • 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.


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  • 1(Of a celestial body) obscure the light from or to (another celestial body): Jupiter was eclipsed by the Moon
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    • 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.
  • 1.1Deprive (someone or something) of significance or power: the economy has eclipsed the environment as the main issue
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    • 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, put in the shade, surpass, exceed, excel, be superior to, outclass, outstrip, outdistance, outdo, top, cap, trump, transcend, tower above/over, dwarf, upstage, shame, put to shame
    informal be head and shoulders above, be a cut above
    archaic extinguish, outrival
  • 1.2 literary Obscure or block out (light): a sea of blue sky violently eclipsed by showers
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    • 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, veil, shroud, hide, conceal, obliterate, darken, dim; shade, cast a shadow over; Astronomy occult


in eclipse

  • 1Losing or having lost significance or power: his political power was in eclipse
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    • 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: almost all the garganeys which reach Australia are in eclipse
    More 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'.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody