Classical Mythology. one of a race of monsters having the head, trunk, and arms of a man, and the body and legs of a horse.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Centaurus.
a skillful horseman or horsewoman.
(initial capital letter) Rocketry. a U.S. upper stage, with a restartable liquid-propellant engine, used with an Atlas or Titan booster to launch satellites and probes.
(Greek myth) one of a race of creatures with the head, arms, and torso of a man, and the lower body and legs of a horse
late 14c., from Latin centaurus, from Greek Kentauros, origin disputed. In early Greek literature they were a savage, horse-riding tribe from Thessaly; later they were monsters half horse, half man. The southern constellation of Centaurus is attested in English from 1550s but was known by that name to the Romans and known as a centaur to the Greeks. It has often been confused since classical times with Sagittarius.
Any of a group of icy bodies similar to both asteroids and comets, orbiting the Sun in elliptical paths mostly in the region between Saturn and Neptune. Centaurs range in diameter from around 100 to 400 km (62 to 248 mi) and are believed to be Kuiper belt objects that have escaped into the vicinity of the gas-giant planets. Centaurs are considered to have unstable orbits, and gravitational encounters with the large outer planets could send them into the inner solar system or alternatively could eject them from the solar system into interstellar space. Chiron, the first such body to be classified as a Centaur, was discovered in 1977.
Astronomy. the Centaur, a southern constellation between Lupus and Vela, containing the triple-star system Alpha Centauri. Contemporary Examples Historical Examples noun (Latin genitive) Centauri (sɛnˈtɔːraɪ) a conspicuous extensive constellation in the S hemisphere, close to the Southern Cross, that contains two first magnitude stars, Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri, and the globular cluster Omega Centauri […]
any of various plants belonging to the genus Centaurium, of the gentian family, having clusters of small pink or red flowers. any of several other plants of the genera Centaurea and Sabatia. Historical Examples noun (pl) -ries any Eurasian plant of the genus Centaurium, esp C. erythraea, having purplish-pink flowers and formerly believed to have […]
the 100th part of the monetary units of various nations, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, and the Philippines. Contemporary Examples Historical Examples noun (pl) -vos a monetary unit of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the […]
pertaining to or having lived 100 years. a person who has reached the age of 100. Contemporary Examples Historical Examples noun a person who is at least 100 years old adjective being at least 100 years old of or relating to a centenarian n. 1805, “person 100 years old,” from centenary + -ian. As an […]