From Middle English comete, partly from Old English comēta and partly from Old French comete, both from Latin comētēs, from Ancient Greek κομήτης (komḗtēs, “longhaired”), short for ἀστὴρ κομήτης ([astēr] komētēs, "longhaired [star])" and referring to the tail of a comet, from κόμη (kómē, “hair”). Compare English faxed star.
comet (plural comets)
- (astronomy) A small Solar System body consisting mainly of volatile ice, dust and particles of rock whose very eccentric solar orbit periodically brings it close enough to the Sun that the ice vaporises to form an atmosphere, or coma, which may be blown by the solar wind to produce a visible tail.
- A celestial phenomenon with the appearance of such a body.
- c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. […] The First Part […], part 1, 2nd edition, London: […] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, […], published 1592, OCLC 932920499; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire; London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act III, scene ii:
- Upon his browes was pourtraid vgly death,
And in his eies the furies of his heart,
That ſhine as Comets, menacing reueng,
And caſts a pale complexion on his cheeks.
- Any of several species of hummingbird found in the Andes.
- Biela's Comet
- comet darner (Aeshna longipes)
- comet tail
- dead comet
- great comet
- Halley's Comet
- Halley's comet
- interstellar comet
- near-Earth comet
- nonperiodic comet
- non-periodic comet
- parabolic comet
- periodical comet
- periodic comet
- short period comet
- short-period comet
- vomit comet
- third-person singular present indicative form of cometre
- second-person singular imperative form of cometre
comet n (plural comete)
- Alternative form of