- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /məˈɹɪ.dɪ.ən/, /mɪ-/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /məˈɹɪ.di.ən/
- Rhymes: -ɪdiən
- Hyphenation: me‧ri‧di‧an
From Late Middle English meridian, meridien (“relating to midday or noon; southern; (astronomy) relating to the celestial meridian”) [and other forms], from Middle French meridien, Old French meridiane (“relating to midday; southern”) (whence Anglo-Norman meridien; modern French méridien), and from their etymon Latin merīdiānus (“relating to midday; southern”), from merīdiēs (“midday, noon; the south (due to the southward orientation of the sun at noon in the Northern Hemisphere)”) + -ānus (suffix meaning ‘of or pertaining to’). Merīdiēs is a dissimilated form of Old Latin medīdiēs (with the -d- sound shifted to -r-), from medius (“middle”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *médʰyos (“middle”)) + diēs (“day”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *dyew- (“heaven, sky; to be bright”)).
meridian (not comparable)
- Relating to a meridian (in various senses); meridional.
- 1601, C[aius] Plinius Secundus [i.e., Pliny the Elder], “[Book II.] Generall Rules of Lightning.”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Historie of the VVorld. Commonly Called, The Natvrall Historie of C. Plinivs Secvndus. […], 1st tome, London: […] Adam Islip, published 1635, OCLC 1180792622, page 27:
- [T]he Tuſcanes have devided the Heaven into 16 parts. The firſt, is from the North to the Sunnes riſing in the Equinoctiall line: the ſecond, to the Meridian line, or the South: the third, to the Sunne ſetting in the Equinoctiall: and the fourth, taketh up all the reſt from the ſaid VVest to the North ſtarre.
- 1658, Thomas Browne, “To My Worthy and Honoured Friend Thomas Le Gros of Crostwick Esquire”, in Hydriotaphia, Urne-buriall, […] Together with The Garden of Cyrus, […], London: […] Hen[ry] Brome […], OCLC 48702491; reprinted as Hydriotaphia (The English Replicas), New York, N.Y.: Payson & Clarke Ltd., 1927, OCLC 78413388:
- The Reliques of many lie like the ruines of Pompeys, in all parts of the earth; And vvhen they arrive at your hands, theſe may ſeem to have vvandred far, vvho in a direct and Meridian Travell, have but few miles of knovvn Earth betvveen your ſelf and the Pole
- 1719, [Daniel Defoe], The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; […], London: […] W[illiam] Taylor […], OCLC 613471018, page 220:
- I ſhall not peſter my Account, or the Reader, with Deſcriptions of Places, Journals of our Voyages, Variations of the Compaſs, Latitudes, Meridian-Diſtances, Trade-Winds, Situation of Ports, and the like; […]
- (archaic except literary) Relating to midday or noon.
- 1781, Edward Gibbon, “Plan of the Fifth and Sixth Volumes.—Succession and Characters of the Greek Emperors of Constantinople, from the Time of Heraclius to the Latin Conquest”, in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, volume III, London: […] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, […], OCLC 995235880, pages 18–19:
- At the meridian hour he [Philippikos Bardanes] withdrew to his chamber, intoxicated with flattery and wine, and forgetful that his example had made every ſubject ambitious, and that every ambitious ſubject was his ſecret enemy.
- 1880 May–December, Anthony Trollope, “‘Everybody’s Business’”, in Dr. Wortle’s School. […], volume II, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1881, OCLC 6562652, part V, page 31:
- [It may be] that two glasses of alcoholic mixture in the middle of the day shall seem, when imputed to him, to convey a charge of downright inebriety. But the writer has perhaps learned to regard two glasses of meridian wine as but a moderate amount of sustentation.
- 1906 May–October, Jack London, “The She-wolf”, in White Fang, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., published October 1906, OCLC 288492, part 1 (The Wild), page 15:
- Daylight came at nine o'clock. At midday the sky to the south warmed to rose-color, and marked where the bulge of the earth intervened between the meridian sun and the northern world.
- Relating to the culmination or highest point.
- 1776, Edward Gibbon, “Of the Union and Internal Prosperity of the Roman Empire, in the Age of the Antonines”, in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, volume I, London: […] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, […], OCLC 995235880, page 38:
- This obvious difference marked the two portions of the empire with a diſtinction of colours, which, though it was in ſome degree concealed during the meridian ſplendor of proſperity, became gradually more viſible, as the ſhades of night deſcended upon the Roman world.
- 1874, Thomas Hardy, “Joseph and His Burden—Buck’s Head”, in Far from the Madding Crowd. […], volume II, London: Smith, Elder & Co., […], OCLC 2481962, page 139:
- [I]n the meridian times of stage-coach travelling [the Buck's Head inn] had been the place where many coaches changed and kept their relays of horses.
- Relating to the south; meridional, southern.
- 1819, Lord Byron, “Notices of the Life of Lord Byron”, in Thomas Moore, editor, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: With Notices of His Life, […], volume II, London: John Murray, […], published 1830, OCLC 629975661, page 214:
- A stranger loves the lady of the land, / Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood / Is all meridian, as if never fann'd / By the black wind that chills the polar flood.
- Relating to the culmination or highest point.
The noun is derived from Late Middle English meridian, meridien (“midday, noon; position of the sun at noon; the south; longitude of a place; (astronomy) celestial meridian”) [and other forms], from Anglo-Norman meridien (“midday”), Middle French meridien (“midday; the south; terrestrial meridian; (astronomy) celestial meridian”) (modern French méridien), and Old French meridiane, meridiiene, and from their etymon Latin merīdiānum (“midday; position of the sun at noon; the south”), a noun use of the neuter form of merīdiānus (“relating to midday; southern”); see further at etymology 1.
Sense 1.1 (“celestial meridian”) is ultimately modelled after Latin merīdiāna līnea (“meridian line”). Sense 5.2 (“midday rest; siesta”) is modelled after Late Latin meridiana (“midday; midday rest”), probably short for Latin merīdiāna hōra (“midday time”).
meridian (plural meridians)
- In full celestial meridian: a great circle passing through the poles of the celestial sphere and the zenith for a particular point on the Earth's surface. [from 14th c.]
- (also geography) In full terrestrial meridian: a great circle on the Earth's surface, passing through the geographic poles (the terrestrial North Pole and South Pole); also, half of such a circle extending from pole to pole, all points of which have the same longitude. [from 14th c.]
- 1746 March 31 (Gregorian calendar), James Ferguson, “VI. The Phænomena of Venus, Represented in an Orrery Made by James Ferguson, Agreeable to the Observations of Seignior Bianchini.”, in Philosophical Transactions. Giving Some Account of the Present Undertakings, Studies, and Labours, of the Ingenious, in Many Considerable Parts of the World, volume XLIV, number 479, London: […] T. Woodward, […] ; and C. Davis […] printers to the Royal Society, DOI:10.1098/rstl.1746.0027, OCLC 630046584, paragraph 15, page 140:
- In this Place of Venus the Hour and Amplitude of the Sun's Riſing, for one Half of the Year, are the ſame with thoſe of his Setting in the other Half; which will alſo happen in all Places under the firſt Meridian, where he riſes and ſets: […]
- (by extension)
- The place on the celestial meridian where it is crossed by the sun or a star at its highest point.
- 1729, [Alexander Pope], “Book the Third”, in The Dunciad. With Notes Variorum, and the Prolegomena of Scriblerus, London: […] Lawton Gilliver […], OCLC 702320739, page 154:
- This vvonderful perſon ſtruck Medals, vvhich he diſperſed as Tickets to his ſubſcribers: The device, a Star riſing to the Meridian, vvith this Motto, Ad Summa [To the highest]; and belovv, Inveniam Viam aut faciam [I shall either find a way or make one].
- (figuratively) The highest or most developed point, or most splendid stage, of something; culmination, peak, zenith. [from 16th c.]
- 1613, William Shakespeare; [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii], page 221, column 2:
- I haue touch'd the higheſt point of all my Greatneſſe, / And from that full Meridian of my Glory, / I haſte novv to my Setting. I ſhall fall / Like a bright exhalation in the Euening, / And no man ſee me more.
- 1861, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter XXIII, in Lady Trevelyan (Hannah More Macaulay), editor, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volume V, London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, OCLC 1069526323, page 67:
- This was the moment at which the fortunes of Montague reached the meridian. The decline was close at hand.
- (figuratively, specifically) Chiefly followed by of: the middle period of someone's life, when they are at their full abilities or strength; one's prime. [from 17th c.]
- 1625, Francis [Bacon], “Of Youth and Age. XLII.”, in The Essayes […], 3rd edition, London: […] Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret, OCLC 863521290, pages 247–248:
- 1645 May 8 (Gregorian calendar), James Howell, “LX. To Tho. Young, Esq”, in Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ. Familiar Letters Domestic and Forren. […], volume I, 3rd edition, London: […] Humphrey Mos[e]ley, […], published 1655, OCLC 84295516, section VI, page 284:
- You ſeem to marvel I do not Marry all this vvhile, conſidering that I am paſt the Meridian of my Age, and that to you Knovvledge there have been overtures made me of Parties above my Degree.
- 1819, Thomas Moore, “Notices of the Life of Lord Byron”, in Lord Byron; Thomas Moore, editor, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: With Notices of His Life, […], volume I, London: John Murray, […], published 1830, OCLC 629975661, page 211:
- And here [Missolonghi],—it is impossible not to pause, and send a mournful thought forward to the visit which, fifteen years later, he paid to this same spot,—when, in the full meridian both of his age and fame, he came to lay down his life as the champion of that land, through which he now wandered a stripling and a stranger.
- A ring or half-ring with markings in which an artificial globe is installed and may spin.
- , George Herbert, “The Size”, in [Nicholas Ferrar], editor, The Temple: Sacred Poems, and Private Ejaculations, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: […] Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel; and are to be sold by Francis Green, […], OCLC 1048966979; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, […], 1885, OCLC 54151361, page 132:
- Call to mind thy dream, / An earthly globe, / On whoſe meridian was engraven, / Theſe ſeas are tears, and heav'n the haven.
- (mathematics) A line passing through the poles of any sphere; a notional line on the surface of a curved or round body (in particular, an eyeball). [from 18th c.]
- The place on the celestial meridian where it is crossed by the sun or a star at its highest point.
- (US, printing, dated) The size of type between double great primer and canon, standardized as 44-point.
- The south. [14th–17th c.]
- 1601, C[aius] Plinius Secundus [i.e., Pliny the Elder], “[Book II.] Of the Unequall Rising of the Starres: Of the Eclipse, both Where and How It Commeth.”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Historie of the VVorld. Commonly Called, The Natvrall Historie of C. Plinivs Secvndus. […], 1st tome, London: […] Adam Islip, published 1635, OCLC 1180792622, page 34:
- [T]he figure of the very earth, vvhich together vvith the vvater, is by the ſame arguments knovvne to be like a Globe: for ſo doubtleſſe it commeth to paſſe, that vvith us the ſtars about the North pole, never go dovvn; and thoſe contrarivviſe of the Meridian, never riſe.
- Midday, noon. [14th–19th c.]
- 1637, Tho[mas] Heywood, “The Speech of the Second Shovv, Delivered in Paules Church-yard”, in Londini Speculum: Or, Londons Mirror, […], London: […] I[ohn] Okes […], OCLC 1243827783, signature C, verso:
- He acts his vvhole life on this earthly ſtage, / In Child-hood, Youth, Man-hood, Decripit age. / The very day that doth afford him light, / Is Morning, the Meridian, Evening, Night.
- A midday rest; a siesta.
- 1820 March, [Walter Scott], chapter V, in The Monastery. A Romance. […], volume II, Edinburgh: […] Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, […]; and for Archibald Constable and Co., and John Ballantyne, […], OCLC 892089409, pages 187–188:
- "As we have," he said, "in the course of this our toilsome journey, lost our meridian, indulgence shall be given to those of our attendants who shall, from very weariness, be unable to attend the duty at prime, and this by way of misericord or indulgentia."
- A particular area or situation considered as having a specific characteristic or identity; also, the characteristics, habits, or tastes of a specific group, locale, etc. [16th–19th c.]
- 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Diet Rectified in Substance”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970, partition 2, section 2, member 1, subsection 1, pages 200–201:
- Diet, […] comprehends thoſe ſixe non naturall things, vvhich I haue before ſpecified, are eſpeciall cauſes, and being rectified, a ſole or chiefe part of the Cure. […] VVhich hovvſoeuer I treat of, as proper to the Meridian of melancholy, yet neuertheleſſe that vvhich is here ſaid, vvill generally ſerue moſt other diſeaſes, and eaſe them likevviſe, if it be obſerued.
- 1625 (first performance), Ben[jamin] Jonson, “The Prologue for the Court”, in The Staple of Nevves. […], London: […] I[ohn] B[eale] for Robert Allot […], published 1631, OCLC 81096167, page 6:
- A VVorke not ſmelling of the Lampe, to night, / But fitted for your Maieſties diſport, / And vvrit to the Meridian of your Court, / VVe bring; and hope it may produce delight: […]
- a. 1677, Matthew Hale, “The Introduction, Declaring the Reason of the Choice of This Subject, and the Method of the Intended Discourse”, in The Primitive Origination of Mankind, Considered and Examined According to the Light of Nature, London: […] William Godbid, for William Shrowsbery, […], published 1677, OCLC 42005461, section I, page 7:
- All other knowledge meerly or principally ſerves the concerns of this Life, and is fitted to the meridian thereof: […]
- 1712, Humphry Polesworth [pseudonym; John Arbuthnot], “The Publisher’s Preface”, in John Bull Still in His Senses: Being the Third Part of Law is a Bottomless-Pit. […], London: […] John Morphew, […], OCLC 228742815, page 5:
- I repreſented to him the good Reception the two firſt Parts had met, that tho' they had been calculated by him, only for the Meridian of Grub-ſtreet, yet they were taken notice of by the better ſort; […]
- 1748, [Tobias Smollett], chapter XXVIII, in The Adventures of Roderick Random. […], volume I, 2nd edition, London: […] J. Osborn […], OCLC 1181155068, page 253:
- This ſuggeſtion, improbable as it vvas, had the deſired effect upon the captain, being exactly calculated for the meridian of his intellects; […]
- 1751, [Tobias] Smollett, “The Two Friends Eclipse All Their Competitors in Gallantry, and Practise a Pleasant Project of Revenge upon the Physicians of the Place”, in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle […], volume II, London: Harrison and Co., […], published 1781, OCLC 316121541, page 202, column 2:
- [H]is accompliſhments were exactly calculated for the meridian of female taſte; and with certain individuals of that ſex, his muſcular frame, and the robuſt connection of his limbs, were more attractive than the delicate proportions of his companion.
- 1835, [Washington Irving], “[Newstead Abbey.] Superstitions of the Abbey.”, in Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey (The Crayon Miscellany; no. 2), Philadelphia, Pa.: [Henry Charles] Carey, [Isaac] Lea, & Blanchard, OCLC 2031450, page 140:
- She loves to gossip about the Abbey and Lord Byron, and was soon drawn into a course of anecdotes, though mostly of a humble kind, suited to the meridian of the housekeeper's room and servants' hall.
- (Scotland) An alcoholic drink taken at midday. [18th–19th c.]
- 1818 July 25, Jedadiah Cleishbotham [pseudonym; Walter Scott], chapter III, in Tales of My Landlord, Second Series, […] (The Heart of Mid-Lothian), volume I, Edinburgh: […] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Company, OCLC 819902302, page 110:
- Plumdamas joined the other two gentlemen in taking their meridian (a bumper-dram of brandy), as they passed the well-known low-browed shop in the Lawn-Market, where they were wont to take that refreshment.
- The south. [14th–17th c.]
- (transitive) To cause an object to reach the meridian or highest point of (something).
- 1889, Frederic Alva Dean, “Description of the Ancient Petoséga”, in The Heroines of Petoséga […], New York, N.Y.: Hawthorne Publishing Company […], OCLC 27037819, page 10:
- Simultaneously with the coming of the mist over earth and sea, where both seem merged into one, slowly and exactly at the same time on each side to the right and left rise and form gorgeous rainbows, that move gently up the sky. They ascend in pairs of the most brilliant color and hue. Upward they move until all the sky is meridianed with bows, which meet in a grand symphony of color in the zenith.
- 1922 July, Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. [...] Part III: The Reports of the Boards and Permanent Committees to the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth General Assembly, Des Moines, Iowa, May 18–25, 1922, volume I (Third Series), Philadelphia, Pa.: Office of the General Assembly, […], OCLC 7823959, page 157:
- At the foot of the promontory on which stands Peng Lai Temple is the little Christian Church of Water City, a suburb of Teng-chou. In the church are hung these words: "One volume, Old and New Testaments, circling earth, meridianing Heaven. One seven-roomed Worship Hall, backing the sea, facing the City."
- 1954, E[dward] L[eslie] Mayo, “‘Whose Center is Everywhere’”, in David Ray, editor, Collected Poems (A New Letters Book), Kansas City, Mo.: University of Missouri; Athens, Oh.: Swallow Press, Ohio University Press, published 1981, →ISBN, page 86:
- [T]reetops stare / Vertiginous and of two minds; and one / Is to let go; // The other, though, / Is to cling on, seeing clear / It is meridianed and centered by / The pure blue, the apple of its eye.
- (intransitive) Of a celestial body: to reach its meridian.
- 1895 May, Percival Lowell, “On Martian Longitudes”, in George E[llery] Hale and James E[dward] Keeler, editors, The Astrophysical Journal: An International Review of Spectroscopy and Astronomical Physics, volume I, number 5, Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, ISSN 0004-637X, OCLC 5894574618, page 397:
- 1902 October 25, “The Salving of the ‘Senator’”, in William and Robert Chambers, editors, Chambers’s Journal, volume V, number 256 (Sixth Series), London; Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, OCLC 793924257, chapter IV, page 741, column 1:
- By the time the moon meridianed, the weather had decidedly improved and the sea had gone down.
- 1934, Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Mississippi Order of the Eastern Star: Twenty-eighth Annual Session, Meridian, Miss.: Dement Bros. Print. Co., OCLC 18992490, page 181:
- Born in Massachusetts, in 1818, neath the shadow of Bunker Hill, and, incidentally of lineage with Robert Morris of Revolutionary fame, ere his life meridianed removing with his family to beautiful "blue grass Kentucky", the home of his heart, where he wrought well and his memory is revered.
- meridianed (adjective)
Borrowed from French méridien or German Meridian (“pathway on the body along which life force is thought to flow”), from Latin merīdiānum (“midday; position of the sun at noon; the south”) (see further at etymology 2); the French and German words are calques of Mandarin 經, 经 (jīng, “pathway on the body along which life force is thought to flow; longitude; warp of woven fabric; to go or pass through”).
meridian (plural meridians)
- (acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine) Any of the pathways on the body along which chi or qi (life force) is thought to flow and, therefore, the acupoints are distributed; especially, one of twelve such pathways associated with organs of the body. [from 20th c.]
- ^ “merī̆diā̆n, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “meridian, adj.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “meridian, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ “merī̆diā̆n, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- “meridian, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “meridian, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- ^ “meridian, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2018.
- meridian (astronomy) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- meridian (Chinese medicine) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- meridian (geography) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- meridian (disambiguation) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- meridian in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- meridian in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- Meridian in the 1921 edition of Collier's Encyclopedia.
- meridian at OneLook Dictionary Search
meridian n (plural meridiane)