Sphere (?), n. [OE. spere, OF.
espere, F. sphère, L. sphaera,. Gr.
??? a sphere, a ball.] 1. (Geom.) A
body or space contained under a single surface, which in every part is
equally distant from a point within called its
2. Hence, any globe or globular body,
especially a celestial one, as the sun, a planet, or the
Of celestial bodies, first the sun, Milton.
A mighty sphere, he framed.
3. (Astron.) (a) The
apparent surface of the heavens, which is assumed to be spherical and
everywhere equally distant, in which the heavenly bodies appear to
have their places, and on which the various astronomical circles, as
of right ascension and declination, the equator, ecliptic, etc., are
conceived to be drawn; an ideal geometrical sphere, with the
astronomical and geographical circles in their proper positions on
it. (b) In ancient astronomy, one of the
concentric and eccentric revolving spherical transparent shells in
which the stars, sun, planets, and moon were supposed to be set, and
by which they were carried, in such a manner as to produce their
4. (Logic) The extension of a general
conception, or the totality of the individuals or species to which it
may be applied.
5. Circuit or range of action, knowledge, or
influence; compass; province; employment; place of
To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be
seen to move in 't. Shak.
Taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity,
and inclosing her in a sphere by herself.
Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe Keble.
Our hermit spirits dwell.
6. Rank; order of society; social
7. An orbit, as of a star; a socket.
Armillary sphere, Crystalline
sphere, Oblique sphere,. See under
Armillary, Crystalline,. -- Doctrine of the
sphere, applications of the principles of spherical
trigonometry to the properties and relations of the circles of the
sphere, and the problems connected with them, in astronomy and
geography, as to the latitudes and longitudes, distance and bearing,
of places on the earth, and the right ascension and declination,
altitude and azimuth, rising and setting, etc., of the heavenly
bodies; spherical geometry. -- Music of the
spheres. See under Music.
Syn. -- Globe; orb; circle. See Globe.