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Webster 1913 Edition


Zenith

Ze′nith

(?; 277)
,
Noun.
[OE.
senyth
, OF.
cenith
, F.
zénith
, Sp.
zenit
,
cenit
, abbrev. fr. Ar.
samt-urras
way of the head, vertical place;
samt
way, path +
al
the +
ras
head. Cf.
Azimuth
.]
1.
That point in the visible celestial hemisphere which is vertical to the spectator; the point of the heavens directly overhead; – opposed to
nadir
.
From morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer’s day; and with the setting sun
Dropped from the
zenith
, like a falling star.
Milton.
2.
hence, figuratively, the point of culmination; the greatest height; the height of success or prosperity.
I find my
zenith
doth depend upon
A most auspicious star.
Shakespeare
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her
zenith
with the stars.
Mrs. Barbauld.
It was during those civil troubles . . . this aspiring family reached the
zenith
.
Macaulay.
Zenith distance
.
(Astron.)
See under
Distance
.
Zenith sector
.
(Astron.)
See
Sector
, 3.
Zenith telescope
(Geodesy)
,
a telescope specially designed for determining the latitude by means of any two stars which pass the meridian about the same time, and at nearly equal distances from the zenith, but on opposite sides of it. It turns both on a vertical and a horizontal axis, is provided with a graduated vertical semicircle, and a level for setting it to a given zenith distance, and with a micrometer for measuring the difference of the zenith distances of the two stars.

Webster 1828 Edition


Zenith

ZENITH

,
Noun.
That point in the visible celestial hemisphere, which is vertical to the spectator, and from a which a direct perpendicular line passing through the spectator, and extended, would proceed to the center of the earth. It is opposed to nadir.

Definition 2021


zenith

zenith

See also: zénith

English

Noun

zenith (plural zeniths)

Diagram showing the relationship between the zenith, the nadir, and different types of horizon. Note that the zenith is opposite the nadir.
  1. (astronomy) The point in the sky vertically above a given position or observer; the point in the celestial sphere opposite the nadir.
    • 1638 Herbert, Sir Thomas Some years travels into divers parts of Asia and Afrique
      The 12 day wee had the wind high and large ſo that in two dayes ſaile we made the Sunne our Zenith or verticall point...
    • 1671–1693: Rev. Thomas Jolly, private notebook; printed in:
    • 1895, Henry Fishwick (editor), The Note Book of the Rev. Thomas Jolly: A.D. 1671–1693. Extracts from the Church Books of Altham and Wymondhouses, 1649–1725. And an Account of the Jolly Family of Standish, Gorton, and Altham, page 44
      In this 10th m. appeared that prodigious Comett the tayl whereof was like the blade of a double edged sword, and reached almost from the horizon to the zenith.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1943, Chapter XI, p. 180,
      In the east a pillar of cloud reared from horizon to zenith, with a kind of arm outstretched like a threatening colossus.
  2. (astronomy) The highest point in the sky reached by a celestial body.
    • 1719- Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
      ...in the middle of the day, when the sun was in the zenith, the violence of the heat was too great to stir out...
    • 1920, Peter B. Kyne, The Understanding Heart, Chapter II:
      As far to the west as Monica could see, her world was a sea of fog, [] . Above it arched a cerulean sky; as the sun climbed to the zenith, [] , the fog gradually took on a bluish tinge.
  3. Highest point or state; peak.
    • Shakespeare
      I find my zenith doth depend upon / A most auspicious star.
    • Macaulay
      It was during those civil troubles [] this aspiring family reached the zenith.
    • 1900, William Beckford, The History of the Caliph Vathek, page 173:
      "There for a while I enjoyed myself in the zenith of glory and pleasure."

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