centaur

centaur

[sen-tawr]
noun
1.
Classical Mythology. one of a race of monsters having the head, trunk, and arms of a man, and the body and legs of a horse.
2.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Centaurus.
3.
a skillful horseman or horsewoman.
4.
(initial capital letter) Rocketry. a U.S. upper stage, with a restartable liquid-propellant engine, used with an Atlas or Titan booster to launch satellites and probes.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English, Old English < Latin centaurus < Greek kéntauros

centaurial, centaurian, centauric, adjective
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World English Dictionary
centaur (ˈsɛntɔː)
 
n
Greek myth one of a race of creatures with the head, arms, and torso of a man, and the lower body and legs of a horse
 
[C14: from Latin, from Greek kentauros, of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

centaur
late 14c., from L. centaurus, from Gk. Kentauros, origin disputed. In early Gk. literature they were a savage, horse-riding tribe from Thessaly.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Centaur   (sěn'tôr')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of a group of icy bodies similar to both asteroids and comets, orbiting the Sun in elliptical paths mostly in the region between Saturn and Neptune. Centaurs range in diameter from around 100 to 400 km (62 to 248 mi) and are believed to be Kuiper belt objects that have escaped into the vicinity of the gas-giant planets. Centaurs are considered to have unstable orbits, and gravitational encounters with the large outer planets could send them into the inner solar system or alternatively could eject them from the solar system into interstellar space. Chiron, the first such body to be classified as a Centaur, was discovered in 1977.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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