Main definitions of atlas in US English:

: atlas1Atlas2

atlas1

noun

  • 1A book of maps or charts.

    ‘a road atlas’
    ‘I looked in the atlas to find a map of Italy’
    • ‘This was probably the first collection of maps in book form twenty years before Mercator published his atlas.’
    • ‘But the greatest impact has come through global warming, with successive editions of the atlas showing shrinking ice fields and evaporating lakes.’
    • ‘Don't be surprised when the public stick to their trusty road atlases!’
    • ‘Among them were prints in valuable 16th and 17th century editions of atlases by Mercator, Speed, Jansson and Blaeu.’
    • ‘If you're hiring a car, you may need a road atlas.’
    • ‘Some of my favorite books are old, gorgeously illustrated encyclopedias and atlases.’
    • ‘The collection also features world maps, and includes atlases, globes, school geographies, maritime charts, and a variety of pocket, wall, children's, and manuscript maps.’
    • ‘Even the way we learn and package information from books, magazines, atlases, and newspapers has improved.’
    • ‘Since they were all manuscript, no two charts or atlases were alike in size, decoration or cartographic content.’
    • ‘By 1650, two-thirds of the continent's coast were thus widely known not only in Europe, but also wherever Dutch charts, atlases, and globes were distributed.’
    • ‘Taking the road atlas with her, Misha got out of the lorry cab again and headed over to the white and red lorry belonging to the Polish driver.’
    • ‘The very few who carried a road atlas seemed incapable of reading it as they sought a way out of their self-inflicted predicament.’
    • ‘Carl had been poring over the pages of a road atlas.’
    • ‘The plot is about as difficult to read as a road atlas.’
    • ‘Mercator's main work, an atlas, was published in several editions from 1585 on and beyond his death in 1594.’
    • ‘Up the hill, through that pass, turn left after a bit was what I remembered from the road atlas.’
    • ‘Finally, we located these sites on a road atlas for the use of our volunteers.’
    • ‘Picture one of those mileage charts you get in the front of road atlases.’
    • ‘The school has no electricity and no running water, classes of up to 70, teachers who often do not get paid their five dollars a week and the only book is an atlas from 1956.’
    • ‘I am certain that my colleagues at the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach will not rest on this achievement, however, and so I look forward to a third Swiss breeding bird atlas in a few years.’
    • ‘This technique can be used to generate easily interpretable maps, to animate past and future incidence and to provide consistent visualizations for a national disease atlas.’
    • ‘Back at home, he went into his den and got out his road atlas.’
    1. 1.1 A book of illustrations or diagrams on any subject.
      ‘Atlas of Surgical Operations’
      • ‘This atlas of the universe is a pretty good way to get an idea of scale.’
      • ‘However, by forging a visual link between anatomical dissection and the process of birth, Smellie's atlas makes visible the internal forces working on the mother and the fetus.’
      • ‘Illustrated by Gerard de Lairesse, Bidloo's atlas shows the actual tools and arrangements of the dissecting table.’
      • ‘One of the finest anatomical atlases ever produced can now be viewed at the university's new Raymond Burton library thanks to York Medical Society.’
      • ‘One crucial element was the emergence in the eighteenth century of a new genre of scientific publication: the illustrated obstetric atlas.’
      • ‘And, finally, he published his illustrated obstetric atlas in 1754.’
      • ‘The endocrine system will be considered in Section 15 of this atlas.’
      • ‘This convenient pocket atlas succinctly describes the ear points, teaches the practitioner how to locate them precisely, and empowers the practitioner in their use.’
      • ‘It is transported throughout the body within blood vessels, which is the subject of Section 8 of this atlas.’
      • ‘Scientists can also compare diseased brain tissue against the brain atlas to see how illnesses affect gene expression.’
      • ‘Infrared radiation penetrates the Milky Way's dust, so Ibata's team relied on a recently completed near-infrared atlas of some 300 million stars.’
      • ‘It is impossible to avoid the impression that the atlas has been composed by people who do not really understand architecture, but who know how to lay down pretty pages.’
      • ‘While Smellie's atlas details the many things that can go wrong for a surgeon/physician attending a birth, Hunter removed all signs of his practice as midwife from the volume.’
      • ‘From a pathologist's perspective, this book would not substitute for a comprehensive pathology textbook or atlas of coronary artery disease.’
  • 2Anatomy
    The topmost vertebra of the backbone, articulating with the occipital bone of the skull.

    • ‘The atlas may be fused with the occipital bone in varying degrees.’
    • ‘There is a well-developed atlas and the caudal vertebrae can be distinguished from the trunk vertebrae by the presence of hemal arches.’
    • ‘Neither the atlas nor the second vertebra bears ribs.’
    • ‘Although poorly represented, other skeletal elements include nine pelvis fragments, two ulna fragments, three atlases, and a few rib fragments.’
    • ‘Although the atlas and axis are missing, the remaining cervical vertebrae are present and well preserved.’
  • 3Architecture
    A stone carving of a male figure, used as a column to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building.

    • ‘Meanwhile, the caryatids and atlantes just watch, waiting.’
    • ‘Among its wealth of neoclassical details are the legs in the shape of inverted obelisks, the torsos of draped and winged caryatids and atlantes, and the allegorical figure (possibly Summer).’
    • ‘He has designed atlantes to support the temple at the top of John Simpson's towering column, and an art-deco-inspired grouping of gods and titans for the pediment midway up Franck Lohsen McCrery's building.’

Origin

Late 16th century (originally denoting a person who supported a great burden): via Latin from Greek Atlas, the Titan of Greek mythology who supported the heavens and whose picture appeared at the front of early atlases.

Pronunciation

atlas

/ˈætləs//ˈatləs/

Main definitions of atlas in US English:

: atlas1Atlas2

Atlas2

proper noun

Greek Mythology
  • One of the Titans, who was punished for his part in their revolt against Zeus by being made to support the heavens. He became identified with the Atlas Mountains.

    muscleman, strongman, macho, macho man, iron man, hercules, samson, tarzan
    View synonyms

Pronunciation

Atlas

/ˈætləs//ˈatləs/