Definition of sun | (2022)

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[ suhn ]

/ sʌn /

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(often initial capital letter) the star that is the central body of the earth's solar system, around which the planets revolve and from which they receive light and heat: its mean distance from the earth is about 93 million miles (150 million km), its diameter about 864,000 miles (1.4 million km), and its mass about 330,000 times that of the earth; its period of surface rotation is about 25 days at its equator but longer at higher latitudes.

the sun considered with reference to its position in the sky, its visibility, the season of the year, the time at which or the place where it is seen, etc.

a star, especially one that has planets and other celestial bodies revolving around it: Many other solar systems have multiple suns, while ours has just one.

sunshine; the heat and light from the sun: to be exposed to the sun.

a figure or representation of the sun, as a heraldic bearing usually surrounded with rays and marked with the features of a human face.

something likened to the sun in brightness, splendor, etc.

Chiefly Literary.

  1. clime; climate.
  2. glory; splendor.

sunrise or sunset: They traveled hard from sun to sun.


  1. a day.
  2. a year.

verb (used with object), sunned, sun·ning.

to expose to the sun's rays.

to warm, dry, etc., in the sunshine.

to put, bring, make, etc., by exposure to the sun.

verb (used without object), sunned, sun·ning.

to be exposed to the rays of the sun: to sun in the yard.



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Idioms about sun

    against the sun, Nautical. counterclockwise.

    place in the sun, a favorable or advantageous position; prominence; recognition: The new generation of writers has achieved a place in the sun.

    under the sun, on earth; anywhere: the most beautiful city under the sun.

    with the sun, Nautical. clockwise.

Origin of sun

First recorded before 900; Middle English sonne, sun(e), son(e), Old English sunne; cognate with German Sonne, Old Norse sunna, Gothic sunno; akin to Old Norse sōl, Gothic sauil, Latin sōl, Greek hḗlios, Welsh haul, Lithuanian saũlė, Polish słońce


sun·like, adjective

Other definitions for sun (2 of 2)


or Sund


Sunday. UnabridgedBased on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use sun in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sun (1 of 2)


the star at the centre of our solar system. It is a gaseous body having a highly compressed core, in which energy is generated by thermonuclear reactions (at about 15 million kelvins), surrounded by less dense radiative and convective zones serving to transport the energy to the surface (the photosphere). The atmospheric layers (the chromosphere and corona) are normally invisible except during a total eclipse. Mass and diameter: 333000 and 109 times that of earth respectively; mean distance from earth: 149.6 million km (1 astronomical unit)Related adjective: solar

any star around which a planetary system revolves

the sun as it appears at a particular time or placethe winter sun

the radiant energy, esp heat and light, received from the sun; sunshine

a person or thing considered as a source of radiant warmth, glory, etc

a pictorial representation of the sun, often depicted with a human face

poetic a year or a day

poetic a climate

archaic sunrise or sunset (esp in the phrase from sun to sun)

catch the sun to become slightly sunburnt

place in the sun a prominent or favourable position

shoot the sun or take the sun nautical to measure the altitude of the sun in order to determine latitude

touch of the sun slight sunstroke

under the sun or beneath the sun on earth; at allnobody under the sun eats more than you do

verb suns, sunning or sunned

to expose (oneself) to the sunshine

(tr) to expose to the sunshine in order to warm, tan, etc

Derived forms of sun

sunlike, adjective

Word Origin for sun

Old English sunne; related to Old High German sunna, Old Frisian senne, Gothic sunno

British Dictionary definitions for sun (2 of 2)


abbreviation for


Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for sun


[ sŭn ]

Often Sun. A medium-sized, main-sequence star located in a spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, orbited by all of the planets and other bodies in our solar system and supplying the heat and light that sustain life on Earth. Its diameter is approximately 1,392,000 million km (865,000 mi), and its mass, about 330,000 times that of Earth, comprises more than 99 percent of the matter in the solar system. It has a temperature of some 5.7 million degrees C (28.3 million degrees F) at its core, where nuclear fusion produces tremendous amounts of energy, mainly through the series of reactions known as the proton-proton chain. The energy generated in the core radiates through a radiation zone to an opaque convection zone, where it rises to the surface through convection currents of the Sun's plasma. The Sun's surface temperature (at its photosphere) is approximately 6,200 degrees C (11,200 degrees F). Turbulent surface phenomena analogous to the Earth's weather are prevalent, including magnetic storms, sunspots, and solar flares. The Sun was formed along with the rest of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago and is expected to run out of its current hydrogen fuel in another 5 billion years, at which point it will develop into a red giant and ultimately into a white dwarf. See Table at solar system. See Note at dwarf star.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for sun


The star around which the Earth revolves.

notes for sun

The sun is about 4.5 billion years old and is expected to remain in its present state for approximately another six billion years; it will eventually evolve into a white dwarf.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with sun


In addition to the idiom beginning with sun

  • sun belt
  • sunny side

also see:

  • everything but the kitchen sink (under the sun)
  • make hay while the sun shines
  • nothing new under the sun
  • place in the sun

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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