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[koh-pur-ni-kuh s, kuh-] /koʊˈpɜr nɪ kəs, kə-/
[nik-uh-ley-uh s] /ˌnɪk əˈleɪ əs/ (Show IPA),
(Mikolaj Kopernik) 1473–1543, Polish astronomer who promulgated the now accepted theory that the earth and the other planets move around the sun (the Copernican System)
a crater in the second quadrant of the face of the moon, having an extensive ray system: about 56 miles (90 km) in diameter from crest to crest with walls rising about 12,000 feet (3650 meters) from its floor; having several central mountains the highest being about 2400 feet (730 meters). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Copernicus
Historical Examples
  • There was a similar opposition, with probability and custom on its side, to the theory of Copernicus.

    Thoughts Out of Season (Part II) Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Columbus explained the earth, Copernicus explained the heavens.

  • Not even Copernicus had doubted the validity of this assumption.

  • Copernicus was, indeed, a man of forty when Holbein was painting this Signboard in 1516.

    Holbein Beatrice Fortescue
  • Sitting up straight and now fully awake, Sir Percevall stared first at Copernicus and then at the letter.

    The Panchronicon Harold Steele Mackaye
  • Copernicus convinced himself that this deduction was preposterous.

    Great Astronomers R. S. Ball
  • Copernicus undoubtedly taught his system throughout the later decades of his life.

  • Copernicus had further shown that it possessed a movement of rotation.

    Great Astronomers R. S. Ball
  • The trunks were pointed out, and with very little trouble Copernicus put them onto the barrow.

    The Panchronicon Harold Steele Mackaye
  • But ere it made its appearance to the world, Copernicus was seized by mortal illness.

    Great Astronomers R. S. Ball
British Dictionary definitions for Copernicus


Nicolaus (ˌnɪkəˈleɪəs). Polish name Mikolaj Kopernik. 1473–1543, Polish astronomer, whose theory of the solar system (the Copernican system) was published in 1543
Derived Forms
Copernican, adjective


a conspicuous crater on the moon, over 4000 metres deep and 90 kilometres in diameter, from which a system of rays emanates
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 Copernicus

Latinized form of name of Mikolaj Koppernigk (1473-1543), physician and canon of the cathedral of Frauenburg. His great work was "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Copernicus in Science
Polish astronomer whose theory that Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun provided the foundation for modern astronomy. His model displaced earlier theories that positioned Earth at the center of the solar system with all objects orbiting it.

Our Living Language  : Nicolaus Copernicus originally studied canon law and medicine in Italy in preparation for a career in the Catholic Church. While in Italy he became interested in astronomy, which he then pursued in his spare time while working as a church administrator in Frauenberg, Poland. In a brief essay, Commentariolis (Little Commentary), he introduced his heliocentric system, in which the Sun is at the center of the universe, with all the planets and stars revolving around it in circular orbits. Copernicus was trying to account for the movements of the planets that, in the days prior to the invention of telescopes, were visible to the unaided eye and that did not fit the older Earth-centered, or geocentric, model of the universe of the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. Copernicus published a longer, more complete account of his theory, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), in 1543, just before he died. His heliocentric model of the universe was disputed by most astronomers of the time, as well as by the Church. After Copernicus's death, the few defenders of his ideas included Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei. De revolutionibus was on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books from 1616 to 1835. Theoretical support for Copernicus's system was provided almost 150 years after the publication of De revolutionibus by Sir Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation. His other great accomplishment was his proposal that the Earth rotates once daily on its own axis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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