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gal·ax·y (gălək-sē)
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n. pl. gal·ax·ies
1. Astronomy
a. Any of numerous large-scale aggregates of stars, gas, and dust that constitute the universe, containing an average of 100 billion (1011) solar masses and ranging in diameter from 1,500 to 300,000 light-years.
b. often Galaxy The Milky Way.
2. An assembly of brilliant, glamorous, or distinguished persons or things: a galaxy of theatrical performers.

[Middle English galaxie, the Milky Way, from Late Latin galaxiās, from Greek, from gala, galakt-, milk; see melg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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