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[suh-les-chuh l] /səˈlɛs tʃəl/
pertaining to the sky or visible heaven, or to the universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere, as in celestial body.
pertaining to the spiritual or invisible heaven; heavenly; divine:
celestial bliss.
of or relating to celestial navigation:
a celestial fix.
(initial capital letter) of or relating to the former Chinese Empire or the Chinese people.
an inhabitant of heaven.
(initial capital letter) a citizen of the Celestial Empire.
Origin of celestial
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin cēlestiālis, equivalent to Latin caelesti(s) heavenly (cael(um) heaven, sky + -estis adj. suffix) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
celestially, adverb
celestialness, celestiality
[suh-les-chee-al-i-tee] /səˌlɛs tʃiˈæl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noncelestial, adjective
noncelestially, adverb
supercelestial, adjective
supercelestially, adverb
uncelestial, adjective
2. angelic, seraphic, blissful, ethereal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for celestial
  • Writer describes his experience of the perceptual phenomenon called celestial vaulting.
  • Although humanoid in form, he has two hearts and almost-celestial intelligence.
  • Owing to the vastness of space, one views celestial objects not as they are but as they were.
  • The planetary week is not a grand chronometer of celestial movements or a gauge of seasonal changes.
  • He was almost relieved to have reached this point where the celestial fingernails were poised to nip his thread.
  • The team worked for five months, repeating the process again and again as they slowly plotted the course of the celestial bodies.
  • These pictures show some of the celestial objects as they were before humans even existed.
  • The temples are adorned by spectacular giant carved heads and elegant basreliefs of buxom celestial dancers known as apsaras.
  • But it still escapes many politicians, who blindly uproot flowers, ignorant of the celestial commotion that may ensue.
  • Navigators on ships need to brush up on celestial navigation.
British Dictionary definitions for celestial


heavenly; divine; spiritual: celestial peace
of or relating to the sky: celestial bodies
Derived Forms
celestially, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin cēlestiālis, from Latin caelestis, from caelum heaven
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for celestial

late 14c., "pertaining to heaven," from Old French celestial "celestial, heavenly, sky-blue," from Latin caelestis "heavenly, pertaining to the sky," from caelum "heaven, sky; abode of the gods; climate," of uncertain origin; perhaps from PIE *kaid-slo-, perhaps from a root also found in Germanic and Baltic meaning "bright, clear" (cf. Lithuanian skaidrus "shining, clear;" Old English hador, German heiter "clear, shining, cloudless," Old Norse heið "clear sky").

The Latin word is the source of the usual word for "sky" in most of the Romance languages, e.g. French ciel, Spanish cielo, Italian cielo. General sense of "heavenly, very delightful" in English is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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celestial in Science
  1. Relating to the sky or the heavens. Stars and planets are celestial bodies.

  2. Relating to the celestial sphere or to any of the coordinate systems by which the position of an object, such as a star or planet, is represented on it.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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