Definition of Copernican system in English:

Copernican system

(also Copernican theory)


  • The theory that the sun is the centre of the solar system, with the planets (including the earth) orbiting round it.

    Compare with Ptolemaic system
    • ‘But also for the first time in print he came out clearly in favour of the Copernican system with the sun at the centre.’
    • ‘He also became an advocate of the controversial Copernican theory of the solar system, which he often defended in public debates.’
    • ‘Suppose I decide that I believe the Ptolemaic system is more plausible than the Copernican system.’
    • ‘We are in the position of medieval astronomers who fear that if the Copernican theory of the solar system is true, ‘the earth’ as we have conceived it does not exist.’
    • ‘Making the orbits elliptical made the Copernican system more accurate.’


Mid 17th century: named after Copernicus (see Copernicus, Nicolaus).


Copernican system