Where does the word “Zodiac” come from and What does Zodiac mean in Greek?

The Greeks reckoned their calendar from the twelve principal constellations as they took their turns in the sky overhead, but the calendar was represented graphically by a circle in which figures representing the constellations were entered.

This representation was called zodiakos kyklos, “the circle of the figures,” from zodion, “a figurine” (diminutive of zoon, “animal”), and kyklos, “a circle” (which led to our cycle).

The term became abbreviated to zodiakos, which was taken into Latin as zodiacus and hence through the Romance languages and into English with appropriate spelling changes along the way, we have the word Zodiac.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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