display | more...

While 'astronomical' has retained its original meaning of having to do with space and especially the stars there within, but in common parlance you are more likely to encounter a more modern meaning. Astronomical is a fairly common and emphatic way of referring to something that is both abstract and very big, especially a number, cost, or amount.

The first example of this usage that I have found was from 1959:

At the moment he wondered why anyone would want to visit Khatka, let alone pay some astronomical sum for the privilege.
--Andre Norton, Voodoo Planet

N.b., while you can refer to an "astronomical cost", an "astronomic cost", or "costs increasing astronomically", you cannot say "that cost is an astronomy".

As`tro*nom"ic*al (#), a. [L. astronomicus, Gr. : cf. F. astronomique.]

Of or pertaining to astronomy; in accordance with the methods or principles of astronomy.

-- As`tro*nom"ic*al*ly, adv.

Astronomical clock. See under Clock. -- Astronomical day. See under Day. -- Astronomical fractions, Astronomical numbers. See under Sexagesimal.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.