1. Astron. An interception or obscuration of the light of the sun, moon, or other luminous body, by the intervention of some other body, either between it and the eye, or between the luminous body and that illuminated by it. A lunar eclipse is caused by the moon passing through the earth's shadow; a solar eclipse, by the moon coming between the sun and the observer. A satellite is eclipsed by entering the shadow of its primary. The obscuration of a planet or star by the moon or a planet, though of the nature of an eclipse, is called an occultation. The eclipse of a small portion of the sun by Mercury or Venus is called a transit of the planet.
Note: ☞ In ancient times, eclipses were, and among unenlightened people they still are, superstitiously regarded as forerunners of evil fortune, a sentiment of which occasional use is made in literature.
That fatal and perfidious bark,
Built in the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark. --Milton.
2. The loss, usually temporary or partial, of light, brilliancy, luster, honor, consciousness, etc.; obscuration; gloom; darkness.
All the posterity of our fist parents suffered a perpetual eclipse of spiritual life. --Sir W. Raleigh.
As in the soft and sweet eclipse,
When soul meets soul on lovers' lips. --Shelley.
Annular eclipse. Astron. See under Annular.
Cycle of eclipses. See under Cycle.
E·clipse, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Eclipsed p. pr. & vb. n. Eclipsing.]
1. To cause the obscuration of; to darken or hide; -- said of a heavenly body; as, the moon eclipses the sun.
2. To obscure, darken, or extinguish the beauty, luster, honor, etc., of; to sully; to cloud; to throw into the shade by surpassing. “His eclipsed state.”
My joy of liberty is half eclipsed. --Shak.
E·clipse, v. i. To suffer an eclipse.
While the laboring moon
Eclipses at their charms. --Milton.
n : one celestial body obscures another [syn: occultation]
v 1: exceed in importance; outweigh; "This problem overshadows
our lives right now" [syn: overshadow]
2: cause an eclipse of (a celestial body) by intervention; "The
Sun eclipses the moon today"; "Planets and stars often are
occulted by other celestial bodies" [syn: occult]
3: cause an eclipse of; of celestial bodies; "The moon eclipsed
of the sun alluded to in Amos 8:9; Micah 3:6; Zech. 14:6; Joel
2:10. Eclipses were regarded as tokens of God's anger (Joel
3:15; Job 9:7). The darkness at the crucifixion has been
ascribed to an eclipse (Matt. 27:45); but on the other hand it
is argued that the great intensity of darkness caused by an
eclipse never lasts for more than six minutes, and this darkness
lasted for three hours. Moreover, at the time of the Passover
the moon was full, and therefore there could not be an eclipse
of the sun, which is caused by an interposition of the moon
between the sun and the earth.