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[plan-i-ter-ee] /ˈplæn ɪˌtɛr i/
of, relating to, or resembling a planet or the planets.
wandering; erratic.
terrestrial; global.
Machinery. noting or pertaining to an epicyclic gear train in which a sun gear is linked to one or more planet gears also engaging with an encircling ring gear.
Machinery. a planetary gear train.
Origin of planetary
1585-95; < Latin planētārius. See planet, -ary
Related forms
nonplanetary, adjective
Can be confused
planetary, plenary, plentiful, plenitude. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for planetary
  • And the idea that planets can migrate great distances in a planetary system has also been around for years.
  • All these tiny mechanisms provide the preconditions of our planetary life.
  • The astronomer discovers that geometry, a pure abstraction of the human mind, is the measure of planetary motion.
  • Many have exotic qualities, bizarre orbits and other characteristics that throw models of planetary formation into spasm.
  • The can also work with planetary placements by mode and element.
  • Further, lots of student tend to remember that planetary orbits are elliptical and not perfectly circular.
  • Instead, it will look for the slight, periodic dimming of stars caused by planetary eclipses.
  • One big question raised by the new study is whether any life could survive expulsion from its planetary clan.
  • Even the possibility of a new planetary world, for humans in the distant future.
  • The youngest stars are surrounded by dusty disks of gas from which they, and their potential planetary systems, are forming.
British Dictionary definitions for planetary


/ˈplænɪtərɪ; -trɪ/
of or relating to a planet
mundane; terrestrial
wandering or erratic
(astrology) under the influence of one of the planets
(of a gear, esp an epicyclic gear) having an axis that rotates around that of another gear
(of an electron) having an orbit around the nucleus of an atom
noun (pl) -taries
a train of planetary gears
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 planetary

1590s; see planet + -ary. Probably from Late Latin planetarius "pertaining to a planet or planets," but this is attested only as "an astrologer." Planetary nebula, so called for its shape, attested from 1785.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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planetary in Science
A large celestial body, smaller than a star but larger than an asteroid, that does not produce its own light but is illuminated by light from the star around which it revolves. In our solar system there are nine known planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Because of Pluto's small size—about two-thirds the diameter of Earth's moon—and its unusual orbit, many astronomers believe it should actually be classed as a Kuiper belt object rather than a planet. A planetlike body with more than about ten times the mass of Jupiter would be considered a brown dwarf rather than a planet. See also extrasolar planet, inner planet, outer planet.

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