One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Each of three equal ten-degree divisions of a sign of the zodiac.
- ‘In ancient astrology the term was also applied to the constellations that ascended with the zodiacal decans.’
- ‘It is not known exactly when the amalgamation of symbolism took place but the astrological use of decans is shown in the temple of Esna, which has been dated to around 200 BC.’
- ‘Those born with the third decan of Leo rising, he says, will be… of middling stature, the face red, the eyes protruding; he will be unbridled around women’
- ‘The zodiacal constellations are easily recognisable and the planets are located in the signs of their exaltations, with the 36 decans clearly marked around the perimeter.’
Late 16th century: from late Latin decanus ‘chief of a group of ten’ (see dean).
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