Exploring the strange and wonderful English language, one word at a time.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Galaxy \GAL-uhk-see\ , noun;
1. Astronomy: A large system of stars held together by mutual gravitation and isolated from similar systems by vast regions of space
2. Any large and brilliant or impressive assemblage of persons or things
Galaxy dates to the late 14th century from Old French galaxie, which derives from Late Latin galaxias ("Milky Way"). The Latin word was a borrowing from Greek galaxias in galaxias kyklos, which is literally "milky circle" from gala ("milk"). Gala comes from Proto-Indo-European *glact-, which is also the forebear of lactation. Galaxy is sometimes used to mean Milky Way specifically, though Milky Way entered English as a translation of Latin via lactea.