Definition of sun in US English:



  • 1the sun" or "the SunThe star around which the earth orbits.

    The sun is the central body of the solar system. It provides the light and energy that sustains life on earth, and its position relative to the earth's axis determines the terrestrial seasons. The sun is a star of a type known as a G2 dwarf, a sphere of hydrogen and helium 870,000 miles (1.4 million km) in diameter that obtains its energy from nuclear fusion reactions in its interior, where the temperature is about 15 million°C. The surface is a little under 6,000°C

    • ‘Even though it was a winter wedding, the sun smiled down on proceedings all day.’
    • ‘Make sure you head back to the city in good time, though, you would not want to get stuck in this wilderness, even in the late spring and summer when the sun hardly sets.’
    • ‘Copernicus must surely have had it in mind when he came up with the idea that the earth orbited the sun.’
    • ‘They found a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a sun-like star at nearly the same distance that Jupiter orbits our sun.’
    • ‘In cultures where the seasons do not change and the sun is strong year round, the sun is worshiped with great pyramids and blood sacrifices.’
    • ‘The Kuiper belt is an icy disk of debris orbiting the sun, beyond Neptune, and is the original home of many comets.’
    • ‘Does the fact that Aristotle was a slave-owner who judged the sun to move round the earth diminish the genius of his poetic theory?’
    • ‘Venus orbits around the sun faster than the earth, which also has a longer distance to cover.’
    • ‘Troms's polar location results in bright summers when the sun never sets and long, dark winters when day never breaks.’
    • ‘To Pope Urban VIII in the seventeenth century, it was both common sense and a matter of faith that the sun revolved around the earth.’
    • ‘This is nonsense, because time is a man-made convention based on the movement of the earth about its axis and orbit around the sun.’
    • ‘I was walking in those woods on Christmas Day just as the sun was going down.’
    • ‘In 1705 Halley showed that the comet, which is now called after him, moved in an elliptical orbit round the sun.’
    • ‘Meteors are usually pieces of asteroids which orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter.’
    • ‘Ptolemy's view that all planets and the sun orbited the earth, was no longer a real option.’
    • ‘Galileo was charged with heresy by the Christian church for having the temerity to suggest that the earth went round the sun.’
    • ‘The values he gave were inaccurate but he wrote that earth rotates at its axis and revolves round the sun.’
    • ‘Lunar eclipses occur when the sun, earth and moon are lined up, and the moon moves into the earth's shadow.’
    • ‘One of his ideas was that the movement of the Earth round the sun meant that the Earth moved towards and then away from the star causing it to brighten and fade.’
    • ‘There is not one track on this album that doesn't pay ultimate tribute to the sun and the glory it brings to our lives.’
    1. 1.1 Any star in the universe that is similar to the sun, with or without planets.
      • ‘Another treat, this time for sci-fi fans, is David Twohy's Pitch Black, an unexpectedly creepy film set on a planet with three suns during its first total eclipse for 20-odd years.’
      • ‘In fact, there were quite a few stories about planets with two suns.’
      • ‘A Caltech researcher has identified a planet that has three suns.’
      • ‘The LBT will be used for everything from tracing the universe back to its origins to trying to capture visual images of planets circling distant suns.’
      • ‘Sato's daytime photos lack the automatic surrealism of his night shots, but the best of them make up for it with the strange comedy of his effort to create a universe with multiple suns, mirror in hand.’
      • ‘Around stars where the light that reaches us started out only hundreds or thousands of years ago, the South African Large Telescope can search for planets around suns too distant for lesser telescopes.’
      • ‘It seemed that it was nearing dawn, although how long night would be on a planet with two suns I didn't know.’
      • ‘Would the writer contend that, if any planet had a sun as ours does, it would teem with life as the Earth does?’
      • ‘Did you know that stars are all suns, like our sun?’
      • ‘A planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology has discovered the first extrasolar planet under three suns in the constellation Cygnus.’
      • ‘Astronomers hope to study the structure and evolution of the Universe, and to search for planetary systems around other suns.’
      • ‘How can you anyone think, with all the countless billions of suns in the universe, that we could be alone?’
      • ‘The stars, he said, were nothing more than other suns, and our sun was nothing more than a nearby star.’
      • ‘Circles are the subject matter of her new work and she uses them to explore her fascination with planets, moons, suns, fireballs and comets.’
      • ‘Remember, our solar system is contained within the Milky Way galaxy which in turn is comprised of many other planets, suns and stars!’
      • ‘All except for 47 Ursae Majoris are gas giants orbiting closer to their suns than Mercury orbits our sun.’
      • ‘Astronomers are now finding compelling evidence that smaller and smaller planets orbit distant suns.’
      • ‘In the ancient teaching all planetary spheres, including suns, are septempartite (seven-fold) in nature, the same as a human is said to be.’
      • ‘The only light was shining in from the viewing window, from two of the planet's suns; the third hadn't yet risen.’
      • ‘He also claimed that the stars were other suns and that space was infinite.’
  • 2usually the sunThe light or warmth received from the earth's sun.

    ‘we sat outside in the sun’
    • ‘Buy them in bloom, and plant them in full sun (light afternoon shade in hot climates).’
    • ‘But my child is only young, and is unable to apply lotion or cream properly and regularly in order to be protected from the sun on a hot summer day.’
    • ‘Deciduous trees or vines will allow partial access to the winter sun and shade in summer.’
    • ‘And the little mammal makes her way out in the morning sun, looking for food to raise her youngsters.’
    • ‘It compensated for standing in the hot sun without proper food or water for five days!’
    • ‘The next day the sun came back, and it didn't rain again the entire trip.’
    • ‘What can I put on the windows to keep the heat in the room for the winter and keep the sun out in the summer?’
    • ‘The promenade was often crowded with gentlemen and ladies, shaded from the summer sun by parasols, and children scurrying on the beach.’
    • ‘It is like working on a chain gang in the hot sun, all day long.’
    • ‘It was our first clear day; the sun was turning the tops of the peaks gold.’
    • ‘With no shelter from the sun, and little food or water, people became ill.’
    • ‘The 25-year-old was due to attend the court last month but the judge was told he had taken his partner and their child to the sun for ten days.’
    • ‘It occupies a narrow bed running alongside a path which gets the afternoon sun in summer, but little in winter when the sun is lower in the sky.’
    • ‘So, leaving Ben to schmooze over a free lunch we got a ride downtown and enjoyed some welcome healthy food in the sun.’
    • ‘A 15 to 30 minute tanning session is equivalent to an entire day spent in the sun.’
    • ‘Balanced charm is what this wine does best: an easy sophistication, like lying in the sun on a winter's morning.’
    • ‘The pool was usually filled with swimmers, spellbound by the cool shower that tamed the summer sun.’
    • ‘Plant it in an area which receives full sun, digging it into soil which has been improved with the addition of compost and manure.’
    • ‘Many of those dissenting voices seem to wonder how, given the precarious financial situation, the players can jet off to the sun for four days.’
    • ‘Forget your lazy day at the beach; forget a sweltering day in the sun; I'm going sailing.’
    sunshine, sunlight, daylight, light, warmth
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1literary A person or thing regarded as a source of glory, inspiration, or understanding.
      ‘the rhetoric faded before the sun of reality’
    2. 2.2literary Used with reference to someone's success or prosperity.
      ‘the sun of the Plantagenets went down in clouds’
      • ‘The sun of the Roman Empire set, so to speak, in the East, and it is to Byzantium we must turn our eyes for the continuation of the art of horsemanship as of the Fine Arts.’
      • ‘There is little doubt that Erris deserve their day in the sun but what made this victory extra special was the manner in which it was achieved.’
      • ‘When the sun of the Stuarts set forever on the bloody plain of Culloden, Prince Charlie fled the stricken field with a few followers to the mountain fastnesses of Scotland.’
  • 3literary A day or a year.

    ‘after going so many suns without food, I was sleeping’
    • ‘Five suns passed, and still another five suns had risen and set, and yet no braves returned.’
    • ‘Before any more suns set, before opportunists destroy the ethical science-based practice of medicine, before our children abandon the dream of practicing medicine, let us pledge to stand shoulder to shoulder and march forward toward our goal.’
    • ‘After many suns the fighting stopped and the people came back again, but the beautiful valley of the great river was all changed.’


sun oneself
  • 1Sit or lie in the sun.

    ‘Buzz could see Clare sunning herself on the terrace below’
    • ‘He and his lovely wife, Deedee, have settled into a serene retirement where their days consist of shopping, eating and sunning.’
    • ‘Reluctantly motoring out of the slough, we stopped a few times to ogle alligators, huge and small, sunning on the banks, draped across fallen logs or floating quietly in the shallows.’
    • ‘There was an oversized red lizard sunning itself on a rock, a wolf was in the shade of a giant tree drinking from the river, an eagle was perched in a tree above the wolf, and a dolphin was in the river.’
    • ‘Floor plans for the Terrace Lofts are similar to those of the Main Street Lofts, but with an added emphasis on outdoor entertaining or sunning on oversized terraces.’
    • ‘The camera follows her heading home on a dirt road, exchanging greetings with an old man squatting on a haystack, and passing old women sunning at the village boundary stones.’
    • ‘While other children were sunning themselves on beaches in Brittany or sending postcards from Greece, we were getting drenched at Culloden or counting midge-bites by Loch Arkaig.’
    • ‘Rest days pass swimming in the crystal-clear pools of the Merced River, sunning on midstream boulders, watching trout flicker here and there.’
    • ‘Sea turtles with shells the size of manhole covers sun themselves on the beach.’
    • ‘You can spend hours combing the waters edge surfacing and sunning for a while at any one of many exit docks where there are chairs to enjoy the green jungle view.’
    • ‘I loved the endless hours I spent splashing in streams, eating blackberries off the bush, catching trout, walking the woods, sunning on rocks, listening to banjos and dulcimers.’
    • ‘Of course while I'm sunning myself on the beach next week, I'll be sure to think of you all in the office. you never know, you might even get a post card.’
    • ‘When the campers arrive in Varna and Balchik, they will not just be sunning themselves on the beach.’
    • ‘And then the curtains parted to reveal the hotel's roofdeck, where a half a dozen gorgeous women in highly-experimental bikinis were sunning and oiling themselves and each other.’
    • ‘It's late summer in Dresden and the locals are sunning themselves on the beach.’
    • ‘Even if you're not sunning yourself at the beach, the sun's UV rays are still powerful enough to do permanent damage, especially to children's sensitive skin.’
    • ‘I'm mostly sleeping and eating and drinking and reading and sunning.’
    • ‘Editors and managing directors can theoretically produce the papers for weeks on end while the owner suns himself in Palm Beach or the South of France.’
    • ‘There seemed to be countless possibilities, but in the end I chose to embark on a two week mission to Romania over a couple of weeks sunning myself on a beach.’
    • ‘For the Indian security forces, whose speedboats, armed with heavy machine guns, cruised past visitors sunning themselves on the lake's famous house boats, the coming of summer means just one thing: the start of the fighting season.’
    • ‘Tuck into clotted cream and freshly baked scones while sunning yourself on the terrace overlooking the beach.’
    sunbathe, bask, bake, get a tan, tan, brown
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Expose (something) to the sun, especially to warm or dry it.
      ‘the birds are sunning their wings’
      • ‘Looking after valuables, wallets, watches, rings, mobile phones, carrying kit bags, serving meals and drinks, sunning out sweaty clothes are some of his daily duties.’
      • ‘I've seen one neighbor's cat writhing around on the sidewalk and yowling while my cat sunned his fat stomach in our driveway, unfazed.’
      • ‘Like many other Shanghai residents, housewife Sheng Chongming has sunned clothes and quilts from her balcony for dozens of years.’
      • ‘The other memory is of a small group of turkey vultures that, every morning, sunned their wings in a dead oak tree next to our house in Oakland where I grew up.’
      • ‘This can actually lessen the burden of sunning the plants once a while.’


  • against the sun

    • Against the direction of the sun's apparent movement in the northern hemisphere; from right to left or counterclockwise.

      • ‘Accordingly, most sail-ships carry a secondary propulsion system (such as thrusters or an ion engine) for emergency maneuvering and sailing against the sun.’
      • ‘Kim and I have journeyed against the sun, from California to New York; we gave up a life in Silicon Valley to become innkeepers in Greenville New York.’
      • ‘It's also worth noting that it's more difficult on the body to travel against the sun, or west to east, than it is to go east to west.’
  • one's day (or moment or time) in the sun

    • The period during which a person or thing achieves the greatest level of success, acclaim, or appreciation.

      ‘he was happy to have his day in the sun against his rival’
  • on which the sun never sets

    • (of an empire) worldwide.

      • ‘It is now eighteen-sixty-four, and an upstart kingdom called ‘Britain’ oversees an empire on which the sun never sets.’
      • ‘And here the Disney empire on which the sun never sets is on its best creative behavior.’
      • ‘The dominion of this personage so supremely blest extends over an empire on which the sun never sets - an empire greater than Jenghiz Khan achieved or Mohammed conquered.’
      • ‘What an empire, the British Empire, on which the sun never sets!’
      • ‘But due to vicissitude of fortune the Empire collapsed and left behind the legacy of the English language, on which the sun never sets.’
      • ‘Last week, as Cokemen surveyed their empire, on which the sun never sets, their blood almost audibly fizzed with pride.’
      • ‘We seem to be living in a time when we have acquired an Empire on which the sun never sets, and have lost a Republic on which the sun never rises.’
      • ‘How did this little island, ‘set in a silver sea,’ manage to destroy the great power of Spain, and finally possess themselves of an empire on which the sun never sets?’
      • ‘At its zenith, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface and claimed to be ‘the empire on which the sun never sets.’’
      • ‘His book shows us how English came to be seen as the language on which the sun never sets, and it also draws our attention to the political and social significance of this linguistic dominance.’
  • shoot the sun

    • Ascertain the altitude of the sun with a sextant in order to determine one's latitude.

      • ‘In the afternoon we hove to and tried to get the boat still enough for Ken to shoot the sun with a sextant.’
      • ‘Firstly, in a small boat when you shoot the sun with your sextant it is easy to mistake the top of a wave for the horizon and get the wrong answer.’
      • ‘Star and planet sights must be taken at dusk and dawn when both these bodies and the horizon are clearly visible, but you can shoot the sun and moon at any time of the day when you can see them.’
      • ‘To shoot the sun, the navigator would hold the astrolabe in such a manner as to allow the sun's rays to pass through the upper vane, turning the alidade until the small beam of light fell on the hole of the lower vane.’
  • under the sun

    • On earth; in existence (used in expressions emphasizing the large number of something)

      ‘they exchanged views on every subject under the sun’
      • ‘Whatever decision you make they surround you like a pack of wild dogs, calling you every name under the sun.’
      • ‘Now call me a stick-in-the-mud, but that sounds like laziness and an open invitation to wheel out every prejudice under the sun.’
      • ‘They call me every name under the sun and reiterate the fact that they're in a hurry.’
      • ‘She is so at ease on stage and has tons of great material on every subject under the sun.’
      • ‘The collection covers an overwhelming array of subjects, probably everything under the sun!’
      • ‘It has developed an extensive manufacturing capability and can produce nearly anything under the sun.’
      • ‘It is clear these questions are becoming an opportunity for people to raise any subject under the sun without notice.’
      • ‘Of all musical styles under the sun, country music is perhaps the most misunderstood.’
      • ‘You can believe in patents without believing that everything under the sun should be patented.’
      • ‘Someone, somewhere has passed a witty, wise or outrageous remark on almost every subject under the sun.’
      thinkable, conceivable, supposable, believable, credible, creditable, comprehensible
      View synonyms
  • with the sun

    • In the direction of the sun's apparent movement (in the northern hemisphere); from left to right or clockwise.

      • ‘In other words, his journey around the globe would have taken him two days longer than the man who traveled with the sun and made the trip in no time.’
      • ‘After I found out that this great red dragon rose and set with the sun, I very reasonably suspected that he traveled with the sun.’


Old English sunne, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zon and German Sonne, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek hēlios and Latin sol.