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From sub- +‎ lunary.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /sʌbˈluːnəɹi/
  • (file)


sublunary (not comparable)

  1. Situated between the earth and the moon; sublunar or cislunar.
  2. Of this world (as opposed to heaven etc.); earthly, terrestrial.
    • a. 1668, Jeremy Taylor, “Contemplations of the State of Man”, in Reginald Heber, editor, The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D. [], volume III, London: Ogle, Duncan, and Co. []; and Richard Priestley, [], published 1822, →OCLC, chapter III, page 426:
      All Sublunary Things are contemptible, and of no Value.
    • 1695, Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy, translated by John Dryden, De Arte Graphica: The Art of Painting[1], London: W. Rogers, Preface, page v:
      [] the Cœlestial Bodies above the Moon being incorruptible, and not subject to change, remain’d for ever fair, and in perpetual order: On the contrary, all things which are sublunary are subject to change, to deformity, and to decay.
    • 1715, Robert South, “A Discourse Preached at Christ-Church, Oxon, Before the University, October 15, 1699”, in Twelve Sermons Preached at Several Times, and upon Several Occasions, 4th edition, volume IV, London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC, page 533:
      All sublunary Comforts imitate the Changeableness, as well as feel the Influence, of the Planet they are under.
    • 1719 May 6 (Gregorian calendar), [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], 3rd edition, London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], published 1719, →OCLC:
      and the conversation which employed the hours between Friday and me was such as made the three years which we lived there together perfectly and completely happy, if any such thing as complete happiness can be formed in a sublunary state.
    • 1756, Samuel Johnson, “The Life of Sir Thomas Browne” in Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, 2nd edition, London: J. Payne, p. xxvii,[2]
      [] in all sublunary things, there is something to be wished, which we must wish in vain.
    • 1832, [Edward Bulwer-Lytton], chapter XI, in Eugene Aram. A Tale. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, [], →OCLC, book I, page 192:
      Body o' me, it makes a man sick of his kind, ashamed to belong to the race of men, to see the envy that abounds in this here sublunary wale[sic – meaning vale] of tears!
    • 1844, John Mills, chapter XI, in The English Fireside. A Tale of the Past. [] In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Saunders and Otley, [], →OCLC, page 181:
      Mr John Puffingham was a patron—a patron to the diversified layers and strata of men and things pertaining to sublunary matters.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.19:
      We must infer that God does not know of the existence of our sublunary world.

Derived terms[edit]



sublunary (plural sublunaries)

  1. (obsolete) Any worldly thing.