n. pl. at·las·es
1. A book or bound collection of maps, sometimes with supplementary illustrations and graphic analyses.
2. A volume of tables, charts, or plates that systematically illustrates a particular subject: an anatomical atlas.
3. A large size of drawing paper, measuring 26 × 33 or 26 × 34 inches.
4. pl. at·lan·tes (ăt-lăntēz) Architecture A standing or kneeling figure of a man used as a supporting column, as for an entablature or balcony. Also called telamon.
5. Anatomy The top or first cervical vertebra of the neck, which supports the skull.
[After ATLAS. Sense 1, probably from depictions of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders that appeared on the frontispieces of early works of this kind.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.