Etymology
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Ophiuchus 

ancient constellation (representing Aesculapius), 1650s, from Latin, from Greek ophioukhos, literally "holding a serpent," from ophis "serpent" (see ophio-) + stem of ekhein "to hold, have, keep" (from PIE root *segh- "to hold").

Translated in Latin as Anguitenens and Serpentarius. Milton's "Ophiuchus huge in th' Arctick Sky" ("Paradise Lost") is a rare (minor) lapse for a poet who generally knew his astronomy; the constellation actually straddles the celestial equator, and, as its modern boundaries are drawn, dips into the zodiac: The sun passes through Ophiuchus from about Nov. 30 to Dec. 18. The serpent now is treated as a separate constellation.

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exaltation (n.)

late 14c, in astrology, "position of a planet in the zodiac where it exerts its greatest influence," from Old French exaltacion "enhancement, elevation," and directly from Late Latin exaltationem (nominative exaltatio) "elevation, pride," noun of action from past-participle stem of exaltare "to raise, elevate" (see exalt).

From late 15c. as "act of raising high or state of being elevated" (in power, rank, dignity, etc.); also "elevation of feeling, state of mind involving rapturous emotions." The Exaltation of the Cross (late 14c.) is the feast commemorating the miraculous apparition seen by Constantine in 317.

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scorpion (n.)

type of arachnid inhabiting warm regions, notable for its large "nippers" and the painful sting in its tail, c. 1200,scorpioun, perhaps late Old English, from Old French scorpion (12c.), from Latin scorpionem (nominative scorpio), extended form of scorpius, from Greek skorpios "a scorpion" (from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut"). The Spanish alacran "scorpion" is from Arabic al-'aqrab. Symbolic in Middle English of a treacherous person. As the zodiac sign by late 14c. Related: Scorpioid.

Centipeds and tarantulas are often confounded in the popular mind with scorpions, as are also various small lizards, in the latter case probably from the habit some of them have of carrying their tails up. Thus, in the United States, some harmless lizards or skinks, as of the genera Sceloporus and Eumeces, are commonly called scorpions. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
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Aquarius 

faint constellation and 11th zodiac sign, late Old English, from Latin aquarius, literally "water carrier," properly an adjective, "pertaining to water" (see aquarium); a loan-translation of Greek Hydrokhoos "the water-pourer," the old Greek name of this constellation.

The Aquarians (1580s) were a former Christian sect; its adherents used water instead of wine at the Lord's Supper. Aquarian Age (alluded to from 1913) is an astrological epoch (based on precession of the equinoxes) supposed to have begun in the 20th century (though in one estimate, 1848), it would be characterized by the traits of this sign, usher in world peace and human brotherhood, and last approximately 2,160 years. The term and the concept probably got a boost in popular use from the rock song "Age of Aquarius" (1967) and when An Aquarian Exposition was used as the sub-title of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair (1969).

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star (n.)

Old English steorra "star," from Proto-Germanic *sternan- (source also of Old Saxon sterro, Old Frisian stera, Dutch ster, Old High German sterro, German Stern, Old Norse stjarna, Swedish stjerna, Danish stierne, Gothic stairno). This is from PIE root *ster- (2) "star."

Astrological sense of "influence of planets and zodiac on human affairs" is recorded from mid-13c., hence "person's fate as figured in the stars" (c. 1600; star-crossed "ill-fated" is from "Romeo and Juliet," 1592). Meaning "lead performer" is from 1824; star turn is from 1898. Stars as a ranking of quality for hotels, restaurants, etc. are attested from 1886, originally in Baedecker guides. Sticker stars as rewards for good students are recorded from 1970s. Brass star as a police badge is recorded from 1859 (New York City). Star-cluster is from 1870. To see stars when one is hit hard on the head is from 1839.

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scale (n.2)

[weighing instrument] early 15c., extended to the whole instrument from the earlier sense of "pan of a balance" (late 14c.); earlier still "drinking cup" (c. 1200), from Old Norse skal "bowl, drinking cup," in plural, "weighing scale."

This is from a noun derivative of Proto-Germanic *skæla "to split, divide" (source also of Old Norse skel "shell," Old English scealu, Old Saxon skala "a bowl (to drink from)," Old High German scala, German Schale "a bowl, dish, cup," Middle Dutch scale, Dutch schaal "drinking cup, bowl, shell, scale of a balance"), from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut."

The connecting sense seems to be of half of a bivalve ("split") shell used as a drinking cup or a pan for weighing; compare scallop, which is from the same root. But according to Paulus Diaconus the "drinking cup" sense originated from a supposed custom of making goblets from skulls (see skull). Scales as a name for the zodiac constellation Libra is attested in English from 1630s.

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crab (n.1)

popular name for a stalk-eyed, short-tailed, ten-legged crustacean, Old English crabba, from a general Germanic root (compare Dutch krab, Old High German krebiz, German Krabbe, Old Norse krabbi "crab"), related to Low German krabben, Dutch krabelen "to scratch, claw," from PIE root *gerbh- "to scratch, carve" (see carve). French crabe (13c.) is from Germanic, probably Old Norse. 

The zodiac constellation name is attested in English from c. 1000; the Crab Nebula (1840), however, is in Taurus, the result of the supernova of 1054, and is so called for its shape. Crab stick "white fish meat dyed to resemble crab and pressed into a stick shape" is by mid-1950s. To catch a crab "fall or be thrown due to a mistake in rowing" is from 1785. The crab-louse (1540s), commonly found in pubic hair, is so called for its shape and appearance. Short form crab for this is from 1840; related: Crabs.

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climate (n.)

late 14c., "horizontal zone of the earth's surface measured by lines parallel to the equator," from Old French climat "region, part of the earth," from Latin clima (genitive climatis) "region; slope of the earth," from Greek klima "region, zone," literally "an inclination, slope," thus "slope of the earth from equator to pole," from a suffixed form of PIE root *klei- "to lean."

Ancient geographers divided the earth into zones based on the angle of sun on the slope of the earth's surface and the length of daylight. Some reckoned 24 or 30 climates between Meroe on the upper Nile in Sudan and the mythical Riphaean Mountains which were supposed to bound the Arctic; a change of climate took place, going north, at a place where the day was a half hour longer or shorter, according to season, than the starting point. Others counted 7 (each dominated by a particular planet) or 12 (dominated by zodiac signs).

Change of temperature gradually came to be considered more important, and by late 14c. the word was being used in the sense "a distinct region of the earth's surface considered with respect to weather." The sense shift to "combined results of weather associated with a region, characteristic condition of a country or region with reference to the variation of heat, cold, rainfall, wind, etc.," is attested by c. 1600. Figuratively, of mental or moral atmosphere, from 1660s.

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Taurus (n.)

zodiac constellation, late Old English, from Latin taurus "bull, bullock, steer," also the name of the constellation, from PIE *tau-ro- "bull" (source also of Greek tauros, Old Church Slavonic turu "bull, steer;" Lithuanian tauras "aurochs;" Old Prussian tauris "bison"); from PIE *tauro- "bull," from root *(s)taeu- "stout, standing, strong" (source also of Sanskrit sthura- "thick, compact," Avestan staora- "big cattle," Middle Persian stor "horse, draft animal," Gothic stiur "young bull," Old English steor); extended form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

Klein proposes a Semitic origin (compare Aramaic tora "ox, bull, steer," Hebrew shor, Arabic thor, Ethiopian sor). De Vaan writes: "The earlier history of the word is uncertain: there is no cognate in [Indo-Iranian] or Tocharian, whereas there are Semitic words for 'bull' which are conspicuously similar. Hence, it may have been an early loanword of the form *tauro- into the western IE languages." Meaning "person born under the sign of the bull" is recorded from 1901. The Taurid meteors (peaking Nov. 20) so called from 1878.

At midnight revels when the gossips met,
He was the theme of their eternal chat:
This ask'd what form great Jove would next devise,
And when his godship would again Taurise?
[William Somerville, "The Wife," 1727]
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degree (n.)

c. 1200, "a step, a stair," also "a position in a hierarchy," and "a stage of progress, a single movement toward an end," from Old French degré (12c.) "a step (of a stair), pace, degree (of relationship), academic degree; rank, status, position," which is said to be from Vulgar Latin *degradus "a step," from Latin de- "down" (see de-) + gradus "a step; a step climbed;" figuratively "a step toward something, a degree of something rising by stages" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go").

A word of wide use in Middle English; in 14c. it also meant "way, manner; condition, state, standing." Most extended senses in Middle English are from the notion of a hierarchy of steps. Genealogical sense of "a certain remove in the line of blood" is from mid-14c.; educational sense of "an academic rank conferred by diploma" is from late 14c. By degrees "gradually, by stages" is from late 14c.

Other transferred senses are from the notion of "one of a number of subdivisions of something extended in space or time," hence "intensive quality, measure, extent." The meaning "1/360th of a circle" is from late 14c. (The division of the circle into 360 degrees was known in Babylon and Egypt; the number is perhaps from the daily motion of the sun through the zodiac in the course of a year.) From 1540s as "a measure of heat;" the specific use as a unit of temperature on a thermometer is by 1727. In reference to crime, by 1670s as "one of certain distinctions of culpability;" in U.S. use by 1821 as "one of the phases of the same kind of crime."

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