09 January 2010

ephemeris, ephemera, ephemeral

Trying to better understand a poem ("Chapter Sixty-Three," by Fred Longworth of San Diego), I looked up ephemeris and was delighted to discover a three-way definition, in short, a fascinating word lurking in the mists of this endlessly frustrating language. Ephemeris may be a star chart, a diary, or a magazine.

A star chart is, after all, a kind of time reference, which is, after all, what a journal or diary is, and "journal," after all, is a synonym for "magazine."

An ephemeral thing, on the other hand, is a thing that lasts only a day—as do certain plants or animals. Ephemeral may mean "likely to disappear," "ghostly," (that's my idea, maybe defective) or "transitory."

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Ephemeris
Ephemeris E*phem"e*ris, n.; pl. Ephemerides. [L., a diary,
Gr. ?, also, a calendar, fr. ?. See Ephemera.]
1. A diary; a journal. --Johnson.
[1913 Webster]

2. (Anat.)
(a) A publication giving the computed places of the
heavenly bodies for each day of the year, with other
numerical data, for the use of the astronomer and
navigator; an astronomical almanac; as, the "American
Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac."
(b) Any tabular statement of the assigned places of a
heavenly body, as a planet or comet, on several
successive days.
[1913 Webster]

3. (Literature) A collective name for reviews, magazines, and
all kinds of periodical literature. --Brande & C.
[1913 Webster]

-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

ephemeris
n : an annual publication containing astronomical tables that
give the positions of the celestial bodies throughout the
year; "today computers calculate the ephemerides"
[also: ephemerides (pl)]

-- From WordNet (r) 2.0
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Ephemera


Ephemera E*phem"e*ra, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? a day fly, fr. ?
daily, lasting but a day; ? over + ? day.]
1. (Med.) A fever of one day's continuance only.
[1913 Webster]

2. (Zo["o]l.) A genus of insects including the day flies, or
ephemeral flies. See Ephemeral fly, Ephemeral.
[1913 Webster]

-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

Ephemeron E*phem"e*ron, n.; pl. Ephemera. [NL. See
Ephemera.] (Zo["o]l.)
One of the ephemeral flies.
[1913 Webster]

-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

ephemera
See ephemeron
[also: ephemerae (pl)]

-- From WordNet (r) 2.0

ephemera
n 1: something transitory; lasting a day
2: an insect that lives only for a day in its winged form [syn:
ephemeron]
[also: ephemerae (pl)]

-- From WordNet (r) 2.0

ephemeron
n : an insect that lives only for a day in its winged form [syn:
ephemera]
[also: ephemera (pl)]

-- From WordNet (r) 2.0


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Ephemeral
Ephemeral E*phem"er*al, a.
1. Beginning and ending in a day; existing only, or no longer
than, a day; diurnal; as, an ephemeral flower.
[1913 Webster]

2. Short-lived; existing or continuing for a short time only.
"Ephemeral popularity." --V. Knox.
[1913 Webster]

Sentences not of ephemeral, but of eternal,
efficacy. --Sir J.
Stephen.
[1913 Webster]

Ephemeral fly one of a group of neuropterous
insects, belonging to the genus Ephemera and many allied
genera, which live in the adult or winged state only for a
short time. The larv[ae] are aquatic; -- called also day
fly May fly.
[1913 Webster]

-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

Ephemeral E*phem"er*al, n.
Anything lasting but a day, or a brief time; an ephemeral
plant, insect, etc.
[1913 Webster]

-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

ephemeral
adj : enduring a very short time; "the ephemeral joys of
childhood"; "a passing fancy"; "youth's transient
beauty"; "love is transitory but at is eternal";
"fugacious blossoms" [syn: passing, short-lived, transient,
transitory, fugacious]

-- From WordNet (r) 2.0

47 Moby Thesaurus words for "ephemeral":
brief, brittle, capricious, changeable, corruptible, deciduous,
dying, episodic, evanescent, evergreen, fading, fickle, fleeting,
flitting, fly-by-night, flying, fragile, frail, fugacious,
fugitive, half-hardy, hardy, impermanent, impetuous, impulsive,
inconstant, insubstantial, momentary, mortal, mutable, nondurable,
nonpermanent, passing, perennial, perishable, short, short-lived,
subject to death, temporal, temporary, transient, transitive,
transitory, undurable, unenduring, unstable, volatile



-- From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0

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