semimajor-axis

semimajor axis

[sem-ee-mey-jer, sem-ahy-, sem-ee-, sem-ahy-]
noun
1.
Geometry. one half the major axis of an ellipse.
2.
Astronomy. one half the major axis of the ellipse that one celestial body describes around another, as a planet around the sun or a satellite around a planet, equivalent to the mean distance between the two bodies.

Origin:
1925–30; semi- + major

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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