a. The path of a celestial body or an artificial satellite as it revolves around another body due to their mutual gravitational attraction.
b. One complete revolution of such a body.
2. The path of a body in a field of force surrounding another body; for example, the movement of an atomic electron in relation to a nucleus.
a. A range of activity, experience, or knowledge.
b. A range of control or influence: "What magnetism drew these quaking ruined creatures into his orbit?" (Malcolm Lowry). See Synonyms at range.
4. Either of two bony cavities in the skull containing an eye and its external structures. Also called eye socket.
v. or·bit·ed, or·bit·ing, or·bits
To move in an orbit.
1. To revolve around (a center of attraction): The moon orbits Earth.
2. To put into an orbit: The space agency orbited a new satellite.
[Middle English orbita, eye socket, from Old French orbite, from Latin orbita, orbit, probably from orbis.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.