Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a bright object in space that has a tail of gas and dust

Origin and usage

The noun comet, which was first used in English at the end of the 17th century, comes from a French word, cocon, which is derived from ‘coque’ meaning shell.


Stargazers in the northern hemisphere have had a treat this month as the comet NEOWISE is passing close to the Earth, having approached the sun at the beginning of the month. The comet, discovered by astronomers back in March, is named after the space telescope through which it was discovered. It can currently be seen in the evening sky and is the brightest comet to grace our skies in recent years.  The Macmillan Dictionary entry for comet is one of many, including those for the planets, that are enhanced by beautiful illustrations. You can browse them by looking at the thesaurus entry for Planets, stars and other objects in space.


A comet called NEOWISE is paying a visit to Earth’s neighbourhood – and astronomers say it may end up ranking as one of the brightest comets seen in our skies in more than a decade.

Related words

asteroid, meteor, shooting star

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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