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[spahy-kuh] /ˈspaɪ kə/
noun, plural spicae
[spahy-see] /ˈspaɪ si/ (Show IPA),
spicas for 1, 2.
spike2 .
a type of bandage in the shape of a figure eight, extending from an extremity to the trunk.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. a first-magnitude star in the constellation Virgo.
Origin of spica
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin spīca literally, ear of grain; cf. spike2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for spica
Historical Examples
  • spica, however, is a star of the first magnitude, and lies a little east of the place of the Autumnal equinox.

    Letters on Astronomy Denison Olmsted
  • The brightest star in this region of the sky is spica, in Virgo.

    A Field Book of the Stars William Tyler Olcott
  • She answered while still keeping her eyes absently on spica's white effulgence.

  • Its center lies about 50 south of spica in Virgo and below the tail of Hydra.

    Astronomy for Young Folks Isabel Martin Lewis
  • In the southeast you will recognize the quadrilateral of Corvus, with the remarkably white star spica glittering east of it.

    Astronomy with an Opera-glass Garrett Putman Serviss
  • When it is at 3 it is at lower culmination, and the star spica is on the meridian.

    A Text-Book of Astronomy George C. Comstock
  • These constellations contain the following stars of the first magnitude—Aldebaran, Antares, and spica.

    Astronomical Myths John F. Blake
  • But she is supposed to be a winged goddess who holds up in her right hand an ear of wheat, and that is what spica means.

  • How much brighter is an ordinary first-magnitude star, such as Aldebaran or spica, than a star just visible to the naked eye?

    A Text-Book of Astronomy George C. Comstock
  • This star will be conspicuous in the evening hours throughout the summer months, as will also the less brilliant spica in Virgo.

    Astronomy for Young Folks Isabel Martin Lewis
British Dictionary definitions for spica


noun (pl) -cae (-siː), -cas
(med) a spiral bandage formed by a series of overlapping figure-of-eight turns
(botany) another word for spike2 (sense 1)
Word Origin
C15: from Latin: ear of corn


the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. Distance: 260 light years
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 spica



1728, bright star in constellation Virgo, from Latin, literally "ear of grain," corresponding to Greek stakhys (see spike (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spica in Science
A bright bluish-white binary star in the constellation Virgo, with an apparent magnitude of 0.96. Scientific name: Alpha Virginis.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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