Definition of zodiac in English:



  • 1Astrology
    A belt of the heavens within about 8° either side of the ecliptic, including all apparent positions of the sun, moon, and most familiar planets. It is divided into twelve equal divisions or signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces).

    • ‘The apparent paths of the sun, the moon, and the major planets all fall within the zodiac.’
    • ‘Your carrots ought to be put in on a root day, and your leeks harvested only when the zodiac calendar permits.’
    • ‘The co-ruler of Pisces, whose traditional ruler is Jupiter, Neptune takes approximately 170 years to make its circuit of the zodiac.’
    • ‘Each crop type must then be planted on a day when the moon is in a sign of the zodiac associated with that element.’
    • ‘Oh, plus I was thinking about how Virgo comes right after Leo in the zodiac, and that seems to make some sense here (as Katie is a Virgo).’
    • ‘The latter is indeed the famous archer, one of the twelve constellations of the zodiac.’
    • ‘In other words, the zodiacal constellations named in ancient times no longer correspond to the segments of the zodiac represented by their signs.’
    • ‘As the first sign of the zodiac, with energetic Mars as its totem planet, Aries is invariably in a hurry.’
    • ‘Taurus has one of the longest histories of the zodiac signs.’
    • ‘If her planet were not in any part of the zodiac ruled by mine, we would judge that she is not interested in me.’
    • ‘The planets are evenly dispersed around the zodiac.’
    • ‘Venus returns to the same portion of the zodiac after ten solar conjunctions, over a period of exactly 8 years.’
    • ‘The most powerful sign in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon symbolizes intelligence, wealth and tenacity.’
    • ‘This inspired NASA to name the program after the third constellation of the zodiac, which featured the twin stars Castor and Pollux.’
    • ‘The chart is made up of twelve zodiac signs, ten planets, and the twelve houses; the combinations of these are limitless.’
    • ‘Traditional astrology recognises five significant relationships, based upon the twelvefold division of the zodiac signs.’
    • ‘This shows that Jupiter is ‘retrograde’, which means that it is moving backwards through the zodiac.’
    • ‘Two fishes swimming in different directions is the zodiac symbol of Pisces.’
    • ‘‘Places of familiarity’ are the signs of the zodiac or angles in the chart which reinforce a planet's natural disposition.’
    • ‘Gemini, the most northerly constellation of the zodiac, is dominated by the two bright stars that represent the heads of the Twins.’
    • ‘House placement is how each person is affecting the other according to the twelve houses of the zodiac.’
    1. 1.1 A representation of the signs of the zodiac or of a similar astrological system.
      • ‘The zodiac, as drawn by an astrologer, also resembles a dial.’
      • ‘You don't need neon zodiacs and other accoutrements either.’
      • ‘But Frye's dreams of systematizing and co-ordinating a literary universe also rose to meet counterparts in Frances Yates's 1967 account of the zodiacs and theatres of the encyclopaedic memory systems of Bruno and Camillo.’
  • 2trademark An inflatable dinghy powered by an outboard motor.

    • ‘The final segment saw the players paddling a Zodiac across the bay.’
    • ‘The name Zodiac was a pun to anyone who knew about the little raft.’
    • ‘For those wanting more than shore diving, a Zodiac taxi service drops divers just outside the bay to swim back.’
    • ‘Driving a Zodiac around in 30 foot surf is a lot trickier than getting on a Wave Runner.’
    • ‘Note how Zodiac is given enough towline to keep it on the backside of the wave.’

The supposed significance of the movements of the sun, moon, and planets within the zodiacal band forms the basis of astrology. However, the modern constellations do not represent equal divisions of the zodiac, and the ecliptic now passes through a thirteenth (Ophiuchus). Also, owing to precession, the signs of the zodiac now roughly correspond to the constellations that bear the names of the preceding signs


Late Middle English: from Old French zodiaque, via Latin from Greek zōidiakos, from zōidion ‘sculptured animal figure’, diminutive of zōion ‘animal’.