Definition of horizon in English:



  • 1The line at which the earth's surface and the sky appear to meet.

    ‘the sun rose above the horizon’
    • ‘On the morning of the 27th a waning crescent Moon appears on the southeastern horizon, well below and to the right of Venus.’
    • ‘It was very high above horizon, and appeared large, but I could not tell its true size or distance.’
    • ‘Dr Harding says the henges are a mirror image of Orion in its highest position with the southern entrances framing Sirius as it appeared over the horizon.’
    • ‘We could see the shadowed outline of the fabled Mitsio Islands on the pink and orange line of the horizon as we ate.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, another figure has appeared on the opposite horizon.’
    • ‘In about two hours, when the sun was just peeking over the horizon, the group met in the grotto.’
    • ‘The light rays are bent to produce an image above the horizon, thereby shifting the direction in which the sun appears to set.’
    • ‘Astronomers say the so-called ‘moon illusion’ means that a full moon close to the horizon appears much larger than when it is high in the sky.’
    • ‘Most of the time when you look at the sea you either look at the shore line or the horizon.’
    • ‘In Athens they scarcely appear above the horizon, so the early Greek texts undermined their importance.’
    • ‘But it wasn't to be all plain sailing, the weather turned and what appeared to be a hurricane appeared over the horizon to the west.’
    • ‘Row upon row of identical, featureless rectangular apartment blocks line up towards the horizon like vast tablets of stone handed down from the Politburo.’
    • ‘He looked out to the azure ocean, out to the horizon where sea met sky.’
    • ‘He followed the clouds down until his eyes met the horizon, and he counted the numbers of soldiers on each side.’
    • ‘Why does the red color appear at the horizon during sunset?’
    • ‘The sun's edge was already touching the line of the horizon and around it, the sky, the clouds, and the ocean were covered with a beautiful coat of orange.’
    • ‘At sunrise when the red sky is reflected in calm water and the line of the horizon disappears, I have a still, calm sense of blessedness.’
    • ‘Where do the horizon and the sky meet, where does the ground end and the air begin, can I draw a line and make myself ok, with statistics and exact numbers?’
    • ‘It travels forever in both directions, eventually curving far out of sight, just as it meets the horizon.’
    • ‘Victor stepped to the front of the lines and watched the horizon.’
    skyline, range of vision, field of view, vista, view
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The circular boundary of the part of the earth's surface visible from a particular point, ignoring irregularities and obstructions.
      • ‘It will be heading up from the horizon between Canis Major and Puppis in the SW.’
      • ‘Clearly this verse refers to no more than the visible horizon that the dawn ‘grasps’ as the sun rises.’
      • ‘His arms spread from his side and swept across the entire visible horizon.’
      • ‘‘The way the information gets out [of a black hole] seems to be that a true event horizon never forms,’ said Hawking, ‘just an apparent horizon.’’
      • ‘The way the information gets out seems to be that a true event horizon never forms, just an apparent horizon.’
      • ‘It felt exactly the way it feels in the simulator: a hard-to-control aircraft and no visible horizon.’
      • ‘To do so, I would look left and right to check that the wingtips where parallel with the visible horizon.’
      • ‘In the summer months the Full Moon culminates lower and lower in the sky until it reaches its lowest position above the visible horizon at the Full Moon nearest the summer solstice.’
    2. 1.2Astronomy A great circle of the celestial sphere, the plane of which passes through the centre of the earth and is parallel to that of the apparent horizon of a place.
      • ‘Approximately one degree of sign passes over the horizon every 5 minutes.’
      • ‘Jinx was startled to note that the horizon of the infinite plane wobbled unsteadily for a moment.’
      • ‘The interaction between the parts and the horizon brings the lunation cycle down to earth, projecting it, via the ascendant, into the sublunar sphere of the mundane houses.’
  • 2often horizonsThe limit of a person's knowledge, experience, or interest.

    ‘she wanted to leave home and broaden her horizons’
    • ‘But the idea that children are little more than cannon fodder for the exam system is more likely to limit horizons and enthusiasm for learning than it is to turn out a generation of high-achievers.’
    • ‘She has two daughters with him and accepts her fate in life until a skein of circumstances widens her horizons.’
    • ‘You never know what you can achieve if you don't give it a try and I don't want to limit my horizons.’
    • ‘Some of them still had work, their lives were following a plan and a purpose, and their horizons, if not bright, were certainly visible.’
    • ‘This means approaching artists, some of whom might never have gone outside of Soweto, with briefs, and encouraging them not only to expand their horizons but to meet deadlines for the completion of artworks.’
    • ‘Cardiff is just the place to expand your culinary horizons, meet your canny Celtic cousins and do a little name-dropping.’
    • ‘Their incomes are tiny, their horizons limited.’
    • ‘It's just that, I want to expand my horizons, meet new people, you know.’
    • ‘For them we provide an international forum where they can widen their horizons and meet and interact with senior scholars in the field.’
    • ‘For myself, the best part was expanding my horizons and meeting people I wouldn't have otherwise.’
    • ‘For others, it's seen as a genuine adventure fuelled by the desire to broaden horizons and experience another culture.’
    • ‘Mankind is constantly striving to expand his horizons, to push back the boundaries of the unknown, and to challenge himself further and further.’
    • ‘It limits our horizons, narrows our imaginations, and encourages an obsessive preoccupation on the personal and petty aspects of our lives.’
    • ‘The experience of work and travel will broaden horizons and may well open up totally new possibilities.’
    • ‘That support has created a second scientific revolution, opening horizons beyond previous human experience.’
    • ‘Montaigne described these pieces as Essais and thus coined a new literary term, but he professed to have no interest in expanding literary horizons or in educating his readers.’
    • ‘Now, Blackwell is expanding his horizons to satisfy an audience that he feels has been ignored.’
    • ‘Obtaining a certificate in forensic science will make them more suitable, attractive candidates, expand their horizons and broaden their knowledge.’
    • ‘And learning the language of one's country is a very valuable and intellectual experience which broadens the horizons of the traveller, both inside and outside Scotland.’
    • ‘Interesting speakers have extended the knowledge and horizons of members.’
    range of experience, outlook, perspective, scope, perception, compass, sphere, ambit, orbit, purview
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  • 3Geology
    A layer of soil or rock, or a set of strata, with particular characteristics.

    • ‘Throughflow occurs when there are significant changes in the density of different layers within the soil horizon.’
    • ‘It stands to reason that, if long intervals of time had elapsed between the supposedly-episodic lava flows, weathered horizons, and fossil soils should be common.’
    • ‘Strata were examined in the field for evidence of fossil content, and those horizons that appeared to be fossiliferous were sampled in bulk.’
    • ‘Consequently, during the summer growing season the active layer of the soil horizon will normally be aerated.’
    • ‘Palaeosol horizons are interbedded with these units, representing the pedogenic alteration of exposed floodplain sediments.’
    1. 3.1Archaeology A level of an excavated site representing a particular period.
      ‘the upper horizon of the site showed an arrangement of two rows of features’
      • ‘This horizon represents the latest use of the fabric of the Roman city of Corinth that is now recognizable.’
      • ‘The combination of forms in use in a particular stratum defines each assemblage, and the relative sequence of the four horizons presented here is secure.’
      • ‘The attack on the mere probably refers to the crannog, and the destruction horizon may relate to this event.’
      • ‘It is the variety of imported cooking pots in assemblages 1 and 2 that distinguishes fifth-century horizons from those of the fourth century.’
      • ‘It's an Archaic Stage site spanning the period 7500 BC through to AD 1200 in fourteen distinct cultural horizons represented by over 10.5m of stratigraphy.’


  • on the horizon

    • Imminent or just becoming apparent.

      ‘trouble could be on the horizon’
      • ‘But they foresee clouds on the horizon with fears of new taxes and a growing national debt.’
      • ‘Jack is pleased with himself but there are a few clouds on the horizon.’
      • ‘Big bucks loomed on the horizon; he would go back home to China a wealthy man.’
      • ‘For economists, even when the sun is shining there's always a cloud on the horizon.’
      • ‘There are dark clouds on the horizon, but unfortunately they are not carrying rain.’
      • ‘Today, the greatest threat of pandemic yet to appear in modern times is on the horizon.’
      • ‘Across the world, conflicts over increasingly scarce water loom large on the horizon.’
      • ‘He added there were no major clouds on the horizon and no question of a housing market crash.’
      • ‘The only cloud on the horizon has been the news that clinical trials in America may have to be pushed back.’
      • ‘Although the immediate signs are encouraging, there are dark clouds on the horizon.’
      imminent, impending, close, near, approaching, coming, forthcoming, in prospect, at hand, on the way, about to happen, upon us, in the offing, in the pipeline, in the air, in the wind, in the wings, just around the corner
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: via Old French from late Latin horizon, from Greek horizōn (kuklos) ‘limiting (circle)’.