an imaginary belt of the heavens, extending about 8° on each side of the ecliptic, within which are the apparent paths of the sun, moon, and principal planets. It contains twelve constellations and hence twelve divisions called signs of the zodiac. Each division, however, because of the precession of the equinoxes, now contains the constellation west of the one from which it took its name.
Compare .
a circular or elliptical diagram representing this belt, and usually containing pictures of the animals, human figures, etc., that are associated with the constellations and signs.
a circuit or round.
Historical Examples

Night still gripped Crater Arzachel with its intolerable cold, but a zodiacal light in the sky whispered of a lunar dawn to come.
First on the Moon Jeff Sutton

The zodiacal signs which the sun enters at the equinoxes and solstices.
The Sailor’s Word-Book William Henry Smyth

A palace, mansion or house was that zodiacal sign in which a planet was supposed to be peculiarly at home.
Astronomical Lore in Chaucer Florence M. Grimm

It was the zodiacal light, an aurora borealis on a scale inconceivable!
The Black Star Passes John W Campbell

“You might as well try to measure the zodiacal light,” it was remarked to Sir George Airy.
A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century Agnes M. (Agnes Mary) Clerke

The zodiacal ‘signs’ of our almanacs commemorate these early astronomers.
The World’s Progress, Vol. I (of X) Various

In astrology the zodiacal sign of the scorpion is the “night house” of the planet Mars.
Bygone Beliefs H. Stanley Redgrove

Scorpio is the most brilliant and interesting of all the zodiacal groups.
Astronomy for Young Folks Isabel Martin Lewis

From this account of what the zodiacal light appears to be, we proceed to consider what it is.
Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal, No. 449 Various

In our own days the zodiacal constellations are no longer the signs of the zodiac.
Astronomical Myths John F. Blake

an imaginary belt extending 8° either side of the ecliptic, which contains the 12 zodiacal constellations and within which the moon and planets appear to move. It is divided into 12 equal areas, called signs of the zodiac, each named after the constellation which once lay in it See zodiacal constellation
(astrology) a diagram, usually circular, representing this belt and showing the symbols, illustrations, etc, associated with each of the 12 signs of the zodiac, used to predict the future
(rare) a complete circuit; circle

late 14c., from Old French zodiaque, from Latin zodiacus “zodiac,” from Greek zodiakos (kyklos) “zodiac (circle),” literally “circle of little animals,” from zodiaion, diminutive of zoion “animal” (see zoo).

Libra is not an animal, but it was not a zodiac constellation to the Greeks, who reckoned 11 but counted Scorpio and its claws (including what is now Libra) as a “double constellation.” Libra was figured back in by the Romans. In Old English the zodiac was twelf tacna “the twelve signs,” and in Middle English also Our Ladye’s Waye and the Girdle of the Sky.
A band of the celestial sphere extending about eight degrees north and south of the ecliptic, representing the portion of the sky within which the paths of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets are found. In astrology, the zodiac is divided into 12 equal segments, each of which is named after a constellation through which the ecliptic passes in that region of the sky. The traditional beginning point of constellations is Aries, followed in calendrical order by Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. See also equinox.

A band of the sky along which the sun, the moon, and most of the planets move. It is divided into twelve parts, with each part named for a nearby constellation.

Note: The twelve constellations, or signs, of the zodiac are important in astrology.

The imaginary band in the sky through which the sun, the moon, and the planets appear to move. The twelve constellations in the band (Aquarius, Pisces, and so on) are the familiar signs of the zodiac used in astrology.


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