See also: Orbit


Diagram of a planet's orbit, illustrating Kepler's second law.


From Latin orbita (course, track).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɔː(ɹ)bɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔː(r)bɪt


orbit (countable and uncountable, plural orbits)

  1. A circular or elliptical path of one object around another object, particularly in astronomy and space travel.
    The Moon's orbit around the Earth takes nearly one month to complete.
  2. A sphere of influence; an area of control.
    In the post WWII era, several eastern European countries came into the orbit of the Soviet Union.
  3. The course of one's usual progression, or the extent of one's typical range.
    The convenience store was a heavily travelled point in her daily orbit, as she purchased both cigarettes and lottery tickets there.
  4. (anatomy) The bony cavity containing the eyeball; the eye socket.
  5. (physics) A mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of an electron in an atom; area of the highest probability of electron´s occurrence around the atom's nucleus.
  6. (mathematics) A collection of points related by the evolution function of a dynamical system.
  7. (geometry, group theory) The subset of elements of a set X to which a given element can be moved by members of a specified group of transformations that act on X.
  8. (informal) A state of increased excitement, activity, or anger.
    Dad went into orbit when I told him that I'd crashed the car.
    • 2017 September 18, McGarry, Andrew, “AFL finals week two: The heroes and villains from the elimination semi-finals”, in ABC News[1], archived from the original on 2 October 2018:
      Given a veritable Pagan's Paddock by the Cats to work in on Friday night, Danger booted two goals in the first seven minutes to send Geelong fans into orbit.
  9. (pinball) A path for the ball on the outer edge of the playfield, usually connected so that the ball entering in one end will come out of the other.

Usage notesEdit

When referring to astronomical orbits, "in orbit" and "on orbit" have somewhat different meanings. In general, a body is said to be "in orbit" if it is in freefall going around another body; while something happens "on orbit" if it occurs aboard an orbiting spacecraft. Thus one might say, "The space capsule is in orbit, and the astronauts inside are performing experiments on orbit."


Derived termsEdit



orbit (third-person singular simple present orbits, present participle orbiting, simple past and past participle orbited)

  1. To circle or revolve around another object.
    The Earth orbits the Sun.
  2. To move around the general vicinity of something.
    The harried mother had a cloud of children orbiting her, begging for sweets.
  3. To place an object into an orbit around a planet.
    A rocket was used to orbit the satellite.
  4. (transitive) This term needs a definition. Please help out and add a definition, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.




See alsoEdit






  1. past participle of orbi