• WordNet 3.6
    • n zodiac (astrology) a circular diagram representing the 12 zodiacal constellations and showing their signs
    • n zodiac a belt-shaped region in the heavens on either side to the ecliptic; divided into 12 constellations or signs for astrological purposes
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Zodiac (Astron) A figure representing the signs, symbols, and constellations of the zodiac.
    • Zodiac A girdle; a belt. "By his side,
      As in a glistering zodiac , hung the sword."
      "By his side,
      As in a glistering zodiac , hung the sword."
    • Zodiac (Astron) An imaginary belt in the heavens, 16° or 18° broad, in the middle of which is the ecliptic, or sun's path. It comprises the twelve constellations, which one constituted, and from which were named, the twelve signs of the zodiac.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n zodiac Of the moon or of a planet, the belt of the heavens within which the moon or a planet moves.
    • n zodiac A belt of twelve constellations, extending about 8° on each side of the ecliptic. The constellations are , Aries; , Taurus; , Gemini; , Cancer; , Leo; , Virgo; , Libra; , Scorpio; , Sagittarius; , Capricornus; , Aquarius; , Pisces. The zodiac is also divided into twelve equal parts called signs, named after these constellations, and the first point of the sign Aries begins at the vernal equinox. The above symbols refer to the signs. The signs have been carried back by the precession of the equinoxes until they are now 25° behind the corresponding constellations on the average. But the position of the vernal equinox was originally, no doubt, between Aries and Taurus. There is strong evidence that the zodiac was formed at Babylon about 2100 b. c. There is a poetical description of the heavens written by Aratus in Macedonia in latitude about 41°, and about 270 b. c. But the appearances described were never to be seen in that latitude, nor in any latitude in that age. Thus, he mentions that the head of the Dragon—that is, Etamin (γ Draconis)—and the waist of Cepheus—that is, Ficares (β Cephei)—are on the circle of perpetual apparition. Now, this was true only in the latitude of Babylon, 22½°; N., about 2200 b. c. He also describes pretty carefully the most southerly stars seen, mentioning the star now called the Peacock's eye (α Pavonis), as well as Canopus (α Argus), but saying that there are no bright stars between the latter and Cetus, so that α Phœnicis must have been invisible. Now these descriptions will suit only a station of latitude 32° N. to 35° N., and an epoch between 1500 b. c. and 2200 b. c. Aratus also describes the courses of the tropics among the stars. That of the tropic of Cancer best agrees with 2200 b. c., that of the tropic of Capricorn with 2000 b. c. The equator is also described in a manner which answers perfectly to 2100 b. c. Finally, there are twelve descriptions of the appearances of the heavens at the rising of each of the constellations of the zodiac, which, while not very decisive, are not in positive disagreement with the other indications. But there is no doubt that the early part of the poem (written long before the precession of the equinoxes was suspected) copies indirectly early Accadian records. The zodiac was, therefore, formed before 2000 b. c. It cannot have been formed very long before, since there is much reason to believe that the constellation Aries either contained the sun or rose just before the sun at the time of the vernal equinox. Now, it was about 2100 b. c. when the vernal equinox fell upon the last point of Arics, and the other constellations were in similar mean positions. Some highly competent writers, however, regard the first formation of the zodiac as vastly more ancient. Several of the ancient constellation figures have a remarkably Babylonian character, as Virgo, Capricornus, Sagittarius, Centaurus, and Ophiuchus; one (Cepheus) has a barbarian name; and nearly all may be explained from Babylonian mythology. Two at least of the symbols for signs, those of Gemini and Scorpio, much resemble the Babylonian ideographs for the corresponding months. Yet the origin of the Bears, Auriga, Pegasus, Lyra, and Corona was probably not Babylonian. Moreover, certain subjects of common Babylonian fable, such as the tree of life, are not found among the constellations. It is noticeable that it was about 2300 b. c. that He and Ho are said to have reformed the Chinese calendar and divided the heavens into seasons; but the attempt to connect our constellations with the Chinese asterisms has conspicuously failed. The figures of the Chinese zodiac are Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Serpent, Horse, Ram, Ape, Cock, Dog, Pig, Rat, Bull. The zodiac was marked out by the ancients as distinct from the rest of the heavens because the apparent places of the sun, moon, and the planets known to them were always within it. This, however, does not hold good of all the newly discovered planetoids. See cuts under constellations named.
    • n zodiac Figuratively, a round or circuit; a zone; a complete course.
    • n zodiac In heraldry, a bearing representing a part of the imaginary zodiacal circle, forming an arched bend or bend sinister, and with several of the signs upon it, the number being specified in the blazon.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Zodiac zō′di-ak an imaginary belt in the heavens, having as its mesial line the ecliptic or apparent path of the sun, and containing the twelve constellations, called signs of the zodiac. The constellations, with the appropriate symbols of the corresponding signs, are as follows: Aries (Ram); Taurus (Bull); Gemini (Twins); Cancer (Crab); Leo (Lion); Virgo (Virgin); Libra (Balance); Scorpio (Scorpion); Sagittarius (Archer); Capricornus (Goat); Aquarius (Water-bearer); Pisces (Fishes). —adj. Zodī′acal
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  • D. H. Lawrence
    “We need not feel ashamed of flirting with the zodiac. The zodiac is well worth flirting with.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. zodiaque,cf. It. zodiaco,), fr. L. zodiacus, Gr. (sc. ), fr. , dim. of zw^,on an animal, akin to living, to live
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. zodiaque—L. zodiacus—Gr. zōdiakos, belonging to animals—zōdion, dim. of zōon, an animal, zaein, to live.


In literature:

Sagittarius, as he remembered it, was supposed to be one of the signs of the Zodiac.
"The Sky Is Falling" by Lester del Rey
When a young man goes to see a girl for the first time, and the signs of the zodiac are in the heart, they will one day marry.
"Current Superstitions" by Various
It is apparent, however, that the Greek zodiac was employed.
"India: What can it teach us?" by F. Max Müller
The sultan knew all the signs of the zodiac, some of the constellations, and many of the stars by their Arabic names.
"Great African Travellers" by W.H.G. Kingston
Now, for the first time, I saw what is called the zodiacal light.
"My First Voyage to Southern Seas" by W.H.G. Kingston
The God {Apollo}, the year being completed, had run through the twice six signs {of the Zodiac}.
"The Metamorphoses of Ovid" by Publius Ovidius Naso
That is clearly indicated by my latest pondering of the zodiacal signs.
"Blacksheep! Blacksheep!" by Meredith Nicholson
Yet further in the remove we find the zodiacal light.
"New and Original Theories of the Great Physical Forces" by Henry Raymond Rogers
This may account for the glow of the nebulae, and the zodiacal light.
"The Universe a Vast Electric Organism" by George Woodward Warder
This document is adorned with the Signs of the Zodiac, and is heavily garnished with Scripture texts.
"Between Sun and Sand" by William Charles Scully

In poetry:

Constellated, hieroglyphic,
Numbering each page terrific,
Fiery on the nebular black,
Flames the hurling zodiac.
"Processional" by Madison Julius Cawein
And Amos answered: "I'm going to know
Whole pages up and down,
Then find J. M., in a hurry, and go
Straight back to Zodiac Town."
"December" by Nancy Byrd Turner
"I'll make you a whistle apiece," quoth he,
"And if you like, you may follow me;
Zodiac Town's in the land of Time,
And I go by the road of Rhyme."
"Zodiac Town" by Nancy Byrd Turner
Brightness that I pull back
From the Zodiac,
Why those questioning eyes
That are fixed upon me?
What can they do but shun me
If empty night replies?
"A First Confession" by William Butler Yeats
Circling zodiac compels the year.
Intolerant beauty never will be learning.
Clocks cry: stillness is a lie, my dear.
(Proud you halt upon the spiral stair.)
"To Eva Descending The Stair" by Sylvia Plath
Poor Rizpah comes to reap each newly-fallen bone
That once thrilled soft, a little limb, within her womb;
And mark yon alchemist, with zodiac-spangled zone,
Wrenching the mandrake root that fattens in the gloom.
"Tree-Worship" by Richard Le Gallienne

In news:

Flowers and Plants of the Zodiac.
Here he pulls the last move of Zodiac on El Capitan, Yosemite, in 2008.
Kung Fu superstar Jackie Chan said that "Chinese Zodiac 2012" will be his last major action movie.
According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the dragon.
It's the year of the rabbit in the Chinese zodiac.
"There's always a chance you'll have problems when you're using electronics in adverse conditions," says Mayer, who has rigged the Libra to a crane near the North Pole and a Zodiac in the salty seas of the Caribbean.
Looks like the Earth has shifted and your zodiac sign may have changed.
It turns out that your Zodiac sign may be different than you thought – which might be great if you don't like today's horoscope.
A closer look at what caused several Zodiac CH 601s to crash.
Polish For Your Zodiac Sign.
Has Amateur Codebreaker Cracked ' Zodiac Killer' Letter.
Jackie Chan on Making 'Chinese Zodiac '.
From Comic-Con Jackie Chan lets us know when he wanted to make his new film Chinese Zodiac .
Your Zodiac sign can tell you what your best career path should be as well as which jobs to avoid.
Black Zodiac By CHARLES WRIGHT Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

In science:

More on proper motions from Arenou Arenou (2008) mentions two important catalogues: “One led to the discovery of the astrometric binaries: I think that Bessel had 38 stars among which 36 zodiacal stars from Bradley as first epoch (1755) or Maskelyne?.
Astrometry during the past 2000 years
Dust may also be produced as larger bodies are ground down by collisions, or cometary bodies may spontaneously disrupt, as suggested as an explanation for the Solar System’s zodiacal cloud (Nesvorn ´y et al. 2010).
Scattering of small bodies by planets: a potential origin for exozodiacal dust ?
Located at distances similar to those of the zodiacal dust in our Solar System, this dust population would be responsible for both the 12.5 µm detected excess and for a faint emission at 20.8 µm (less than 10% of the total flux at the wavelenght) in excess of the resolved disk and centered on the star.
On the HR 4796A circumstellar disk
The fields surveyed have been selected for their low zodiacal and cirrus emission; the second point is particularly important for the FIR studies.
A Mid-Infrared and Far-Infrared View of Galaxies
The zodiacal background has already been subtracted out from these MSX survey maps.
Spatial distribution of emission in Unidentified Infrared Bands from Midcourse Space Experiment Survey