1. An object launched to orbit Earth or another celestial body, as a device for reflecting or relaying radio signals or for capturing images.
2. Astronomy A celestial body, such as a moon, planet, comet, or other solar system body, that orbits a larger body.
3. A small unit in a system or organization that is managed or controlled by a larger, often centrally located unit.
4. A nation dominated politically and economically by another nation.
5. An urban or suburban community located near a big city.
a. One who attends a powerful dignitary; a subordinate.
b. A subservient follower; a sycophant.
7. Genetics A short segment of a chromosome separated from the rest by a constriction, typically associated with the formation of a nucleolus.
8. Microbiology A colony of microorganisms whose growth in culture medium is enhanced by certain substances produced by another colony in its proximity.
1. Of, relating to, or being a satellite.
2. Of or relating to the transmission of electromagnetic signals by communications satellite: satellite broadcasting; satellite phone.
[French, hanger-on, hireling, from Old French, from Latin satelles, satellit-, originally “armed guard, bodyguard” (probably bearing axes like the fasces of lictors), from Etruscan zaθ-laθ, zaθilaθ, one who carries or strikes with an axe (exact reading in Etruscan inscription uncertain); akin to Etruscan zati zatlχne, for striking with an axe.]
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.