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Milky Way

noun, Astronomy.
the spiral galaxy containing our solar system. With the naked eye it is observed as a faint luminous band stretching across the heavens, composed of approximately a trillion stars, most of which are too distant to be seen individually.
Origin of Milky Way
1350-1400; Middle English, translation of Latin via lactea; cf. galaxy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for milky-way
Historical Examples
  • Nor is the human sight keen enough to see that the dust of the milky-way (pale as the pollen of flowers) is also made of stars.

    King of Camargue Jean Aicard
  • I am much mistaken if the first is not 'milky-way,' and the second, 'Plato.'

  • Nearby is the farm where he got milk, the route to which he called the "milky-way."

  • The presence of the milky-way is manifest by the sprinkling of stars all about this region.

    Astronomy with an Opera-glass Garrett Putman Serviss
  • Do not fail to notice the remarkable subdivisions of the milky-way in this neighborhood.

    Astronomy with an Opera-glass Garrett Putman Serviss
  • Like the milky-way, it whitens along its allotted portion of the hemisphere.

    Life And Times Of Washington, Volume 2 John Frederick Schroeder
  • If the "nebular theory" of the universe be true, this is unquestionably the exact condition of things in the milky-way.

    Life: Its True Genesis R. W. Wright
  • The seaman's name for the black Magellanic clouds, or patches of deep blue sky in the milky-way near the south pole.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Miss Layton, what is that white streak up in the sky, that they call the milky-way?

    Ella Clinton Martha Farquharson
  • But her slippers glimmered with the light of the milky-way, for they were covered with seed-pearls and opals in one mass.

    The Princess and the Goblin George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for milky-way

Milky Way

noun the Milky Way
the diffuse band of light stretching across the night sky that consists of millions of faint stars, nebulae, etc, within our Galaxy
another name for the Galaxy
Word Origin
C14: translation of Latin via lactea
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 milky-way

milky way


late 14c., loan-translation of Latin via lactea. See also galaxy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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milky-way in Science
Milky Way
The spiral galaxy that contains our solar system. Made up of an estimated two hundred billion stars or more, it is seen from Earth as an irregular band of hazy light across the night sky. The solar system is located in one of the revolving spiral arms, about 50 light-years north of the galactic plane and some 27,700 light-years from the galaxy's center, which lies in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. It takes approximately 250 million years for the solar system to orbit the galactic center, which is believed to contain a massive black hole. The Milky Way measures about 100,000 light-years in diameter and is the second largest galaxy, after the Andromeda Galaxy, in the cluster known as the Local Group. See also spiral galaxy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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milky-way in Culture

Milky Way definition

The galaxy to which our sun belongs.

Note: The Milky Way is also the swath of light in the night sky produced by the other stars in the galaxy.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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