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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 body
Historical Examples
  • The declination of a celestial body is its angular distance N or S of the celestial equator or equinoctial.

    Lectures in Navigation Ernest Gallaudet Draper
  • The accurate touch of the edge of a celestial body to the horizon.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Who will set free the immortal heart which is within it, like the germ of a fruit, preparing for itself a celestial body?

    The Saint Antonio Fogazzaro
  • Suppose his rocket crashed upon a planet, or the star itself, or became a captive satellite of some celestial body?

    The Jameson Satellite Neil Ronald Jones
  • At the same time we measure by sextant the altitude of the celestial body observed, say, the sun.

    Lectures in Navigation Ernest Gallaudet Draper
  • This celestial body is the abode of divinity, including many divine beings who take part in its eternal rotations, viz.

    Aristotle George Grote
  • The zenith distance of any point or celestial body is its angular distance from the zenith of the observer.

    Lectures in Navigation Ernest Gallaudet Draper
  • He was a celestial body in the home around which all the other inmates were revolving satellites.

  • By hour angle, I mean the distance in time from your meridian to the meridian of the point or celestial body in question.

    Lectures in Navigation Ernest Gallaudet Draper
  • Every celestial body therefore appears to be a little higher in the sky than it really is.

    The Royal Observatory Greenwich E. Walter (Edwared Walter) Maunder
British Dictionary definitions for celestial body


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 body



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 body 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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