Definition of zodiac in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈzəʊdɪak/


1 Astrology A belt of the heavens within about 8° either side of the ecliptic, including all apparent positions of the sun, moon, and most familiar planets. It is divided into twelve equal divisions or signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces).
Example sentences
  • ‘Places of familiarity’ are the signs of the zodiac or angles in the chart which reinforce a planet's natural disposition.
  • Two fishes swimming in different directions is the zodiac symbol of Pisces.
  • Your carrots ought to be put in on a root day, and your leeks harvested only when the zodiac calendar permits.
1.1A representation of the signs of the zodiac or of a similar astrological system.
Example sentences
  • You don't need neon zodiacs and other accoutrements either.
  • But Frye's dreams of systematizing and co-ordinating a literary universe also rose to meet counterparts in Frances Yates's 1967 account of the zodiacs and theatres of the encyclopaedic memory systems of Bruno and Camillo.
  • The zodiac, as drawn by an astrologer, also resembles a dial.

The supposed significance of the movements of the sun, moon, and planets within the zodiacal band forms the basis of astrology. However, the modern constellations do not represent equal divisions of the zodiac, and the ecliptic now passes through a thirteenth (Ophiuchus). Also, owing to precession, the signs of the zodiac now roughly correspond to the constellations that bear the names of the preceding signs.

2 (Zodiac) trademark An inflatable dinghy powered by an outboard motor.
Example sentences
  • The final segment saw the players paddling a Zodiac across the bay.
  • Driving a Zodiac around in 30 foot surf is a lot trickier than getting on a Wave Runner.
  • The name Zodiac was a pun to anyone who knew about the little raft.



Pronunciation: /zə(ʊ)ˈdʌɪək(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • And of the 12 zodiacal constellations, five have become entirely invisible in the most light-polluted skies - and the seven remaining ones are all missing some stars.
  • I didn't have the heart to point out the zodiacal error, that Leo is usually depicted as a lion.
  • Book III consists largely of tables of numbers, whose columns are headed by zodiacal and planetary symbols, suggesting astronomical data.


Late Middle English: from Old French zodiaque, via Latin from Greek zōidiakos, from zōidion 'sculptured animal figure', diminutive of zōion 'animal'.

  • zoo from mid 19th century:

    The first zoo was the Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park, London. It was established in 1828 in the gardens of the London Zoological Society, and was at first just for scientific study, but was opened to the public in 1847. Practically all English words beginning zoo-, including zoological (early 19th century) and zoology (mid 17th century), go back to Greek zōion ‘animal’, source also of zodiac (Late Middle English) which got its name because most of the signs of the zodiac are represented by animals.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: zo¦diac

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