Share this entry

upsilon Line breaks: up¦si|lon
Pronunciation: /ʌpˈsʌɪlən/
/juːpˈsʌɪlən/ /ˈʊpsɪlɒn/

Definition of upsilon in English:


1The twentieth letter of the Greek alphabet (Υ, υ), transliterated as ‘u’ or (chiefly in English words derived through Latin) as ‘y’.
Example sentences
  • Typesetters typically confuse Greek letters in setting Greek quotations: nu with upsilon, theta with phi.
  • Look lower down the alphabet - theta perhaps, or even upsilon.
1.1 (Upsilon) [followed by Latin genitive] Astronomy The twentieth star in a constellation: Upsilon Scorpii
More example sentences
  • The system they focused on, three huge Jupiter-like planets orbiting the central star Upsilon Andromedae, was the first extrasolar multi-planet system ever discovered by Doppler spectroscopy.
  • The discovery comes only seven months after the first multi-planet system outside our own, around the star Upsilon Andromedae, was identified.
  • For example, Upsilon Andromedae is now known to possess a system of three large planets.
1.2 (also upsilon particle) Physics A meson thought to contain a b quark bound to its antiparticle, produced in particle accelerators.
Example sentences
  • Use of the tracking information told the energies and momenta of the muons - which could then be traced back to find the new upsilon particle and its mass.
  • Similarly, the bottom quark was inferred from the discovery of the upsilon particle by Leon Lederman in 1977 at Fermilab.
  • Some colleagues were surprised that he had not won a Nobel earlier, perhaps for the discovery in 1977 of the upsilon particle, the most massive nuclear particle yet found.


Greek, literally 'slender U', from psilos 'slender', referring to the need to distinguish upsilon from the diphthong oi: in late Greek the two had the same pronunciation.

Words that rhyme with upsilon


Definition of upsilon in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwɑːˈfəː
a hairdresser