Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday June 29, 1999
sublunary \suhb-LOO-nuh-ree\ , adjective:
Situated beneath the moon; hence, of or pertaining to this world; terrestrial; earthly.
In Shakespearean drama, both tragic and comic, the storms and calamities that shake the sublunary globe are reflections of turmoil in the hearts of men.
-- Pico Iyer, "The Philippines Midsummer Night's Dream", Time, July 21, 1986
It's hard to deny that finding oneself in an airless wooden box six feet underground, listening to the wriggling approach of what Poe called "Conqueror Worm," would be one of the worst possible ways to end one's existence in this sublunary sphere.
-- Gary Kamiya, "Buried alive!", Salon, March 7, 2001
May the lexicographer be derided, who being able to produce no example of a nation that has preserved their words and phrases from mutability, shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his language, and secure it from corruption and decay, that it is in his power to change sublunary nature, and clear the world at once from folly, vanity, and affectation.
-- Samuel Johnson, Preface to the Dictionary of the English Language
Sublunary is from the Latin sublunaris, from sub, "under" + luna, "the moon."