- The definition of solstice is the time when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point at noon, resulting in the shortest and longest days of the year.
The longest day of the year is an example of the summer solstice.
solstice definition by Webster's New World
- the moment or date when the sun in its apparent annual movement along the ecliptic reaches its maximum distance north or south of the celestial equator: in the Northern Hemisphere, the day of the (about June 21, marking the beginning of summer) is the time of the sun's maximum elevation and, thus, has the longest period of sunlight; the day of the (about Dec. 21, marking the beginning of winter) is the time of the sun's minimum elevation and, thus, has the shortest period of sunlight
- either of the two points on the celestial sphere where the sun's path reaches its maximum distance north or south of the celestial equator
Origin: Middle English ; from Middle French ; from Classical Latin solstitium ; from sol, the sun (see Sol) plush sistere, causative of stare, to stand
- solstitial adjective
solstice definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- Either of two times of the year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator. The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs about June 21, when the sun is in the zenith at the tropic of Cancer; the winter solstice occurs about December 21, when the sun is over the tropic of Capricorn. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and the winter solstice is the shortest.
- A highest point or culmination.
Origin: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin sōlstitium : sōl, sun; see sāwel- in Indo-European roots + -stitium, a stoppage; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
- sol·stiˈtial adjective
solstice - Cultural Definition
The two occasions each year when the position of the sun at a given time of day does not seem to change direction. In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs around June 21 and is the longest day of the year. The sun stops getting higher in the sky, and the days begin to grow shorter. The winter solstice, which occurs around December 21, is the shortest day. The sun stops getting lower in the sky, and the days begin to grow longer.
solstice - Science Definition
- Either of the two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun) reaches its greatest distance north or south of the celestial equator . ♦ The northernmost point of the Sun's path, called the summer solstice , lies on the Tropic of Cancer at 23°27: north latitude. ♦ The southernmost point of the Sun's path, called the winter solstice , lies on the Tropic of Capricorn at 23°27: south latitude.
- Either of the two corresponding moments of the year when the Sun is directly above either the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn. The summer solstice occurs on June 20 or 21 and the winter solstice on December 21 or 22, marking the beginning of summer and winter in the Northern Hemisphere (and the reverse in the Southern Hemisphere). The days on which a solstice falls have the greatest difference of the year between the hours of daylight and darkness, with the most daylight hours at the beginning of summer and the most darkness at the beginning of winter. Compare equinox.