Eclipse \E*clipse"\ ([-e]*kl[i^]ps"), n. [F. ['e]clipse, L.
eclipsis, fr. Gr. 'e`kleipsis, prop., a forsaking, failing,
fr. 'eklei`pein to leave out, forsake; 'ek out + lei`pein to
leave. See Ex-
, and Loan
1. (Astron.) An interception or obscuration of the light of
the sun, moon, or other luminous body, by the intervention
of some other body, either between it and the eye, or
between the luminous body and that illuminated by it. A
lunar eclipse is caused by the moon passing through the
earth's shadow; a solar eclipse, by the moon coming
between the sun and the observer. A satellite is eclipsed
by entering the shadow of its primary. The obscuration of
a planet or star by the moon or a planet, though of the
nature of an eclipse, is called an occultation
eclipse of a small portion of the sun by Mercury or Venus
is called a transit
of the planet.
Note: In ancient times, eclipses were, and among
unenlightened people they still are, superstitiously
regarded as forerunners of evil fortune, a sentiment of
which occasional use is made in literature.
That fatal and perfidious bark,
Built in the eclipse, and rigged with curses
2. The loss, usually temporary or partial, of light,
brilliancy, luster, honor, consciousness, etc.;
obscuration; gloom; darkness.
All the posterity of our fist parents suffered a
perpetual eclipse of spiritual life. --Sir W.
As in the soft and sweet eclipse,
When soul meets soul on lovers' lips. --Shelley.
. (Astron.) See under Annular
Cycle of eclipses
. See under Cycle