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[ney-der, ney-deer] /ˈneɪ dər, ˈneɪ dɪər/
Astronomy. the point on the celestial sphere directly beneath a given position or observer and diametrically opposite the zenith.
Astrology. the point of a horoscope opposite the midheaven: the cusp of the fourth house.
the lowest point; point of greatest adversity or despair.
Origin of nadir
1350-1400; Middle EnglishArabic naẓīr over against, opposite to (the zenith)
Related forms
nadiral, adjective
Can be confused
nadir, zenith.
3. bottom, floor, foot, depths. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for nadir
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Paul gazed vacantly from the zenith to the nadir, and from west to east, when suddenly his eyes fell on the Abbot of Antinoe.

    Thais Anatole France
  • They were written at the time when the Imperial spirit was at its nadir.

  • Mohammed Shah was completely defeated the moment he encountered nadir Shah.

  • The nadir is the lowest point in the heavens and the zenith is the highest.

  • The pole of the horizon, or that point in the heavens directly overhead, as nadir is that which is directly under our feet.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
British Dictionary definitions for nadir


/ˈneɪdɪə; ˈnæ-/
the point on the celestial sphere directly below an observer and diametrically opposite the zenith
the lowest or deepest point; depths: the nadir of despair
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Arabic nazīr as-samt, literally: opposite the zenith
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 nadir

late 14c., in astronomical sense, from Medieval Latin nadir, from Arabic nazir "opposite to," in nazir as-samt, literally "opposite of the zenith," from nazir "opposite" + as-samt "zenith" (see zenith). Transferred sense of "lowest point (of anything)" is first recorded 1793.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nadir in Science
The point on the celestial sphere that is directly below the observer (90 degrees below the celestial horizon). Compare zenith.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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