<astronomy> Either one of the Bears. See the Phrases below. Ursa Major [L], the Great Bear, one of the most conspicuous of the northern constellations. It is situated near the pole, and contains the stars which form the Dipper, or Charles's Wain, two of which are the Pointers, or stars which point towards the North Star. Ursa Minor [L], the Little Bear, the constellation nearest the north pole. It contains the north star, or polestar, which is situated in the extremity of the tail.

Origin: L. Ursa a she-bear, also, a constellation, fem. Of ursus a bear. Cf. Arctic.

(01 Mar 1998)

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