See also: sphère, -sphere, and -sphère

English edit

 
A two-dimensional perspective projection of a sphere
 
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Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English spere, from Old French sphere, from Late Latin sphēra, earlier Latin sphaera (ball, globe, celestial sphere), from Ancient Greek σφαῖρα (sphaîra, ball, globe), of unknown origin. Not related to superficially similar Persianسپهر(sepehr, sky) (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

sphere (plural spheres)

  1. (mathematics) A three-dimensional shape consisting of all points equidistant from a center. [from 14th c.].
    Synonyms: (geometry) 3-sphere, (topology) 2-sphere
  2. An object which appears to be bounded by a sphere; a round object, a ball. [from 14th c.]
    Synonym: orb
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VII”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      Of celestial bodies, first the sun, / A mighty sphere, he framed.
    • 2011 July 6, Piers Sellers, The Guardian:
      So your orientation changes a little bit but it sinks in that the world is a sphere, and you're going around it, sometimes under it, sideways, or over it.
  3. (astronomy, now rare) The celestial sphere: the edge of the heavens, imagined as a hollow globe within which celestial bodies appear to be embedded. [from 14th c.]
    • 1635, John Donne, His parting form her:
      Though cold and darkness longer hang somewhere, / Yet Phoebus equally lights all the Sphere.
    • 1791, Erasmus Darwin, The Economy of Vegetation, J. Johnson, page 190:
      Resistless rolls the illimitable sphere, / And one great circle forms the unmeasured year.
  4. (historical, astronomy, mythology) Any of the concentric hollow transparent globes formerly believed to rotate around the Earth, and which carried the heavenly bodies; there were originally believed to be eight, and later nine and ten; friction between them was thought to cause a harmonious sound (the music of the spheres). [from 14th c.]
  5. (mythology) An area of activity for a planet; or by extension, an area of influence for a god, hero etc. [from 14th c.]
  6. (figuratively) The region in which something or someone is active; one's province, domain. [from 17th c.]
    Synonyms: area, field, orbit, sector
    sphere of influence
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XVIII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 203:
      ...while his sweet and gentle niece would be a charming companion for Francesca; and he thought, with a glow of affection long unfelt, that Lucy Aylmer must inevitably make a friend whose future kindness might add much to her happiness. Both were at present placed out of their sphere: but the one would in all probability have it greatly in her power to cherish and aid the other.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.20:
      They thought – originally on grounds derived from religion – that each thing or person had its or his proper sphere, to overstep which is ‘unjust’.
  7. The natural, normal, or proper place (of something).
    Synonym: element
    in one's sphere
  8. (geometry) The set of all points in three-dimensional Euclidean space (or n-dimensional space, in topology) that are a fixed distance from a fixed point [from 20th c.].
  9. (logic, dated) The domain of reference of a proposition, subject, or predicate, or the totality of the particular subjects to which it applies.
    • a. 1856, William Hamilton, “Appendix III: Quantification of Predicate,—Immediate Inference,—Conversion,—Opposition”, in Lectures on Metaphysics and Logic, volume 2, published 1860, page 526:
      In point of fact, so often as we think a subject as partially included within the sphere of a predicate, eo ipso we think it as partially, that is, particularly, excluded therefrom.
    • 1896, James Welton, A Manual of Logic, 2nd edition, volume 1, page 213:
      All categorical propositions necessarily imply the existence of their subjects in the appropriate sphere; in affirmative propositions this involves the existence of the predicate in the same sphere; but in negative propositions the predicate does not necessarily exist in that particular sphere, though it does in some sphere.
    • 1900 [1781], Immanuel Kant, translated by J. M. D. Meiklejohn, Critique of Pure Reason, page 58:
      Finally, the disjunctive judgment contains a relation of two or more propositions to each other—a relation not of consequence, but of logical opposition, in so far as the sphere of the one proposition excludes that of the other.

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

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Verb edit

sphere (third-person singular simple present spheres, present participle sphering, simple past and past participle sphered)

  1. (transitive) To place in a sphere, or among the spheres; to ensphere.
  2. (transitive) To make round or spherical; to perfect.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “sphere”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)

See also edit

References edit

  • sphere”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.

Anagrams edit

Middle French edit

Alternative forms edit

Noun edit

sphere f (plural spheres)

  1. sphere (shape)

Descendants edit

  • French: sphère

Old French edit

Alternative forms edit

Noun edit

sphere oblique singularf (oblique plural spheres, nominative singular sphere, nominative plural spheres)

  1. sphere (shape)

Descendants edit

References edit

  • Godefroy, Frédéric, Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française et de tous ses dialectes du IXe au XVe siècle (1881) (sphere, supplement)