<noun>

1. One who sustains a great burden.

2. A collection of maps in a volume; supposed to be so called from a picture of Atlas supporting the world, prefixed to some collections. This name is said to have been first used by Mercator, the celebrated geographer, in the 16th century.

3. A drawing paper of large size.

4. A volume of plates illustrating any subject.

5. A work in which subjects are exhibited in a tabular from or arrangement; as, an historical atlas.

6. A large, square folio, resembling a volume of maps; called also atlas folio.

Origin: L. Atlas, -antis, Gr, one of the older family of gods, who bears up the pillars of heaven; also Mt. Atlas, in W. Africa, regarded as the pillar of heaven. It is from the root of to bear.

(05 Feb 2009)

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<bone>

<anatomy> The first vertebra of the neck, articulating immediately with the skull, thus sustaining the globe of the head, whence the name.

Origin: L. Atlas, -antis, Gr, one of the older family of gods, who bears up the pillars of heaven; also Mt. Atlas, in W. Africa, regarded as the pillar of heaven. It is from the root of to bear.

(01 Mar 1998)