cosmology (n.)

1650s, "general science or theory of the material universe as an ordered whole," from Modern Latin cosmologia, from Greek kosmos (see cosmos) + -logia "discourse" (see -logy). By 1753 as "the branch of metaphysics which discusses the ultimate philosophical problems relating to the existence of the universe." Related: Cosmologist.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars—on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.
[Robert Frost, from "Desert Places," 1936]
Related entries & more 
cosmological (adj.)

"pertaining to or relating to cosmology," 1780, from cosmology + -ical. Greek kosmologikos meant "pertaining to physical philosophy." Related: Cosmologically.

Related entries & more 
intelligent (adj.)

c. 1500, a back-formation from intelligence or else from Latin intelligentem (nominative intelligens), present participle of intelligere. Intelligent design, as a name for an alternative to atheistic cosmology and the theory of evolution, is from 1999. Related: Intelligently.

Related entries & more 
sublunary (adj.)

1590s, "situated under the moon," hence "earthly, mundane" (old cosmology), from Modern Latin sublunaris, from sub "under, beneath" (see sub-) + lunaris (see lunar). It owes its special sense to the old cosmology of heavenly spheres and ultimately to Aristotle:

The treatise On the Heavens sets forth a pleasant and simple theory. Things below the moon are subject to generation and decay; from the moon upwards, everything is ungenerated and indestructible. [Bertrand Russell, "A History of Western Philosophy"]
Related entries & more 

in Germanic cosmology, "the abode of the human race, the world inhabited by men" (opposed to Asgard, the abode of the gods), by 1770, from Old Norse miðgarðr, from mið "mid" (from PIE root *medhyo- "middle") + Proto-Germanic *gardoz "enclosure, tract" (from PIE root *gher- (1) "to grasp, enclose;" compare yard (n.1)). The Old English cognate was middangeard, which later was folk-etymologized as Middle Earth.

Related entries & more 
empyrean (n.)

"empyreal," mid-14c. (as empyre), probably via Medieval Latin empyreus, from Greek empyros "fiery," from assimilated form of en (see en- (2)) + pyr "fire" (from PIE root *paewr- "fire"). As an adjective in English from early 15c. The etymological sense is "formed of pure fire or light." In ancient Greek cosmology, the highest heaven, the sphere of pure fire; later baptized with a Christian sense of "abode of God and the angels."

Related entries & more 
Seven Seas (n.)

by 1823 in representations of Persian or Oriental phrases, or sometimes in reference to seven seas forming part of the Hindu cosmology or to the Talmudists' supposed seven seas of Israel (some of which are obscure lakes); see seven. It is in Burton's "Arabian Nights" (1886) and probably was popularized by one of the versions of Fitzgerald's Omar Khayyam (from which Kipling got it as a book title). To the extent that the phrase has been applied, awkwardly, to global geography, they would be the Arctic, Antarctic, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian oceans.

Related entries & more 

1580s, in Greek mythology a member of the older family of Gods, later regarded as a Titan, son of Iapetus and Clymene; in either case supposed to uphold the pillars of heaven (or earth), which according to one version was his punishment for being war-leader of the Titans in their battle with the Olympian gods. "Originally the name of an Arcadian mountain god; the name was transferred to the mountain chain in Western Africa" [Beekes].

The Greek name traditionally is interpreted as "The Bearer (of the Heavens)," from a-, copulative prefix (see a- (3)), + stem of tlenai "to bear" (from PIE root *tele- "to lift, support, weigh"). But Beekes compares Berber adrar "mountain" and finds it plausible that the Greek name is a "folk-etymological reshaping" of this. Mount Atlas, in Mauritania, was important in Greek cosmology as a support of the heavens.

Related entries & more 
ether (n.)

late 14c., "upper regions of space," from Old French ether (12c.) and directly from Latin aether "the upper pure, bright air; sky, firmament," from Greek aithēr "upper air; bright, purer air; the sky" (opposed to aēr "the lower air"), from aithein "to burn, shine," from PIE *aidh- "to burn" (see edifice).

In ancient cosmology, the element that filled all space beyond the sphere of the moon, constituting the substance of the stars and planets. Conceived of as a purer form of fire or air, or as a fifth element. From 17c.-19c., it was the scientific word for an assumed "frame of reference" for forces in the universe, perhaps without material properties. The concept was shaken by the Michelson-Morley experiment (1887) and discarded early 20c. after the Theory of Relativity won acceptance, but before it went it gave rise to the colloquial use of ether for "the radio" (1899).

The name also was bestowed c. 1730 (Frobenius; in English by 1757) on a volatile chemical compound known since 14c. for its lightness and lack of color (its anesthetic properties weren't fully established until 1842).

Related entries & more 

first planet discovered that was not known in ancient times, named for the god of Heaven, husband of Gaia, the Earth, from Latin Uranus, from Greek Ouranos literally "heaven, the sky;" in Greek cosmology, the god who personifies the heavens, father of the titans.

The planet was discovered and identified as such in 1781 by Sir William Herschel (it had been observed before, but mistaken for a star; in 1690 John Flamsteed cataloged it as 34 Tauri); Herschel proposed calling it Georgium Sidus, literally "George's Star," in honour of his patron, King George III of England.

I cannot but wish to take this opportunity of expressing my sense of gratitude, by giving the name of Georgium Sidus ... to a star which (with respect to us) first began to shine under His auspicious reign. [Sir William Herschel, 1783]

The planet was known in English in 1780s as the Georgian Planet; French astronomers began calling Herschel, and ultimately German astronomer Johann Bode proposed Uranus as in conformity with other planet names. However, the name didn't come into common usage until c. 1850.

Related entries & more