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Shortened from heliocentricism, from heliocentric +‎ -ism, from Ancient Greek ἥλῐος (hḗlios, sun) + κέντρον (kéntron, centre).


heliocentrism (uncountable)

  1. (astronomy, historical) The theory that the sun is the center of the universe.
    • 1923, Felix Adler, "The Reconstruction of the Spiritual Ideal," American Ethical Union, 68.
      Geocentrism has been displaced by heliocentrism. Heliocentrism, in turn, the claim of the sun, surrounded by its satellites, to a sovereign place in the heavens, has become ridiculous in the face of the wilderness of suns that people the abysses beyond us.
    • 2019, Elizabeth Howell, “PBS Series Takes Astronomy Buffs Back in Time With ‘Ancient Skies’”, Space.com
      It wasn't until the Renaissance that scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei showed proof for heliocentrism, or the idea that the planets moved around the sun.
    Synonym: heliocentricity
    Antonym: geocentrism
  2. (informal) The phenomenon of the Earth revolving around the Sun.
    • 2012, David Cay Johnston, chapter 16, in Dean Starkman, Felix Salmon, Martha M. Hamilton, Ryan Chittum, editors, The Best Business Writing 2012[1], New York: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page 191:
      You would think the practitioners of the dismal science of economics would look at their demand curves and the data on incomes and taxes and pronounce a verdict, the way Galileo and Copernicus did when they showed that geocentrism was a fantasy because the Earth revolves around the sun (known as heliocentrism).
    • 2014, Rebecca Stefoff, chapter 4, in Andrew Coddington, Cynthia Roby, Peter Mavrikis, editors, The Sun and the Earth[2], first edition, New York: Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC, →ISBN, page 34:
      Heliocentrism is not yet universally known or accepted. In a 1999 poll, 18 of Americans said that the sun revolves around the Earth, while 79 percent said Earth revolves around the sun.

Usage notes[edit]

Many dictionaries recognize heliocentricism as the grammatically correct form of this word. However, in current usage heliocentrism appears to be by far more frequently used. According to a Google Books search it seems that heliocentrism began to gain ground in the turn of 1960s and 1970s with the first occurrence taking place in 1930s.

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From French héliocentrisme


heliocentrism n (uncountable)

  1. heliocentrism