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
    • ‘Suppose I decide that I believe the Ptolemaic system is more plausible than the Copernican system.’
    • ‘Making the orbits elliptical made the Copernican system more accurate.’
    • ‘He also became an advocate of the controversial Copernican theory of the solar system, which he often defended in public debates.’
    • ‘But also for the first time in print he came out clearly in favour of the Copernican system with the sun at the centre.’
    • ‘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.’


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


Copernican system