Hypertext Webster Gateway: "constellation"

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (easton)

a cluster of stars, or stars which appear to be near each other
in the heavens, and which astronomers have reduced to certain
figures (as the "Great Bear," the "Bull," etc.) for the sake of
classification and of memory. In Isa. 13:10, where this word
only occurs, it is the rendering of the Hebrew _kesil_, i.e.,
"fool." This was the Hebrew name of the constellation Orion (Job
9:9; 38:31), a constellation which represented Nimrod, the
symbol of folly and impiety. The word some interpret by "the
giant" in this place, "some heaven-daring rebel who was chained
to the sky for his impiety."

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Constellation \Con`stel*la"tion\, n. [F. constellation, L.
1. A cluster or group of fixed stars, or dvision of the
heavens, designated in most cases by the name of some
animal, or of some mythologial personage, within whose
imaginary outline, as traced upon the heavens, the group
is included.

The constellations seem to have been almost
purposely named and delineated to cause as much
confusion and inconvenience as possible. --Sir J.

Note: In each of the constellations now recognized by
astronomers (about 90 in number) the brightest stars,
both named and unnamed, are designated nearly in the
order of brilliancy by the letters of the Greek
alphabet; as, [alpha] Tauri (Aldebaran) is the first
star of Taurus, [gamma] Orionis (Bellatrix) is the
third star of Orion.

2. An assemblage of splendors or excellences.

The constellations of genius had already begun to
show itself . . . which was to shed a glory over the
meridian and close of Philip's reign. --Prescott.

3. Fortune; fate; destiny. [Obs.]

It is constellation, which causeth all that a man
doeth. --Gower.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: an arrangement of parts or elements; "the outcome depends on
the configuration of influences at the time" [syn: {configuration}]
2: a configuration of stars as seen from the earth

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