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English Dictionary: declination by the DICT Development Group
3 results for declination
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
  1. a condition inferior to an earlier condition; a gradual falling off from a better state
    Synonym(s): decline, declination
    Antonym(s): improvement, melioration
  2. a downward slope or bend
    Synonym(s): descent, declivity, fall, decline, declination, declension, downslope
    Antonym(s): acclivity, ascent, climb, raise, rise, upgrade
  3. (astronomy) the angular distance of a celestial body north or to the south of the celestial equator; expressed in degrees; used with right ascension to specify positions on the celestial sphere
    Synonym(s): declination, celestial latitude, dec
  4. a polite refusal of an invitation
    Synonym(s): declination, regrets
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Declination \Dec`li*na"tion\, n. [L. declinatio a bending aside,
      an avoiding: cf. F. d[82]clination a decadence. See
      1. The act or state of bending downward; inclination; as,
            declination of the head.
      2. The act or state of falling off or declining from
            excellence or perfection; deterioration; decay; decline.
            [bd]The declination of monarchy.[b8] --Bacon.
                     Summer . . . is not looked on as a time Of
                     declination or decay.                        --Waller.
      3. The act of deviating or turning aside; oblique motion;
            obliquity; withdrawal.
                     The declination of atoms in their descent.
                     Every declination and violation of the rules.
      4. The act or state of declining or refusing; withdrawal;
            refusal; averseness.
                     The queen's declination from marriage. --Stow.
      5. (Astron.) The angular distance of any object from the
            celestial equator, either northward or southward.
      6. (Dialing) The arc of the horizon, contained between the
            vertical plane and the prime vertical circle, if reckoned
            from the east or west, or between the meridian and the
            plane, reckoned from the north or south.
      7. (Gram.) The act of inflecting a word; declension. See
            {Decline}, v. t., 4.
      {Angle of declination}, the angle made by a descending line,
            or plane, with a horizontal plane.
      {Circle of declination}, a circle parallel to the celestial
      {Declination compass} (Physics), a compass arranged for
            finding the declination of the magnetic needle.
      {Declination of the compass} [or] {needle}, the horizontal
            angle which the magnetic needle makes with the true
            north-and-south line.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Refraction \Re*frac"tion\ (r?*fr?k"sh?n), n. [F. r[82]fraction.]
      1. The act of refracting, or the state of being refracted.
      2. The change in the direction of ray of light, heat, or the
            like, when it enters obliquely a medium of a different
            density from that through which it has previously moved.
                     Refraction out of the rarer medium into the denser,
                     is made towards the perpendicular.      --Sir I.
      3. (Astron.)
            (a) The change in the direction of a ray of light, and,
                  consequently, in the apparent position of a heavenly
                  body from which it emanates, arising from its passage
                  through the earth's atmosphere; -- hence distinguished
                  as atmospheric refraction, or astronomical refraction.
            (b) The correction which is to be deducted from the
                  apparent altitude of a heavenly body on account of
                  atmospheric refraction, in order to obtain the true
      {Angle of refraction} (Opt.), the angle which a refracted ray
            makes with the perpendicular to the surface separating the
            two media traversed by the ray.
      {Conical refraction} (Opt.), the refraction of a ray of light
            into an infinite number of rays, forming a hollow cone.
            This occurs when a ray of light is passed through crystals
            of some substances, under certain circumstances. Conical
            refraction is of two kinds; external conical refraction,
            in which the ray issues from the crystal in the form of a
            cone, the vertex of which is at the point of emergence;
            and internal conical refraction, in which the ray is
            changed into the form of a cone on entering the crystal,
            from which it issues in the form of a hollow cylinder.
            This singular phenomenon was first discovered by Sir W. R.
            Hamilton by mathematical reasoning alone, unaided by
      {Differential refraction} (Astron.), the change of the
            apparent place of one object relative to a second object
            near it, due to refraction; also, the correction required
            to be made to the observed relative places of the two
      {Double refraction} (Opt.), the refraction of light in two
            directions, which produces two distinct images. The power
            of double refraction is possessed by all crystals except
            those of the isometric system. A uniaxial crystal is said
            to be optically positive (like quartz), or optically
            negative (like calcite), or to have positive, or negative,
            double refraction, according as the optic axis is the axis
            of least or greatest elasticity for light; a biaxial
            crystal is similarly designated when the same relation
            holds for the acute bisectrix.
      {Index of refraction}. See under {Index}.
      {Refraction circle} (Opt.), an instrument provided with a
            graduated circle for the measurement of refraction.
      {Refraction of latitude}, {longitude}, {declination}, {right
      ascension}, etc., the change in the apparent latitude,
            longitude, etc., of a heavenly body, due to the effect of
            atmospheric refraction.
      {Terrestrial refraction}, the change in the apparent altitude
            of a distant point on or near the earth's surface, as the
            top of a mountain, arising from the passage of light from
            it to the eye through atmospheric strata of varying
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