General English

General Science

  • noun an astronomical object that orbits a larger body in space
  • noun something that is controlled by but separate from a computer


  • noun a man-made device that orbits the Earth, receiving, processing and transmitting signals and generating images such as weather pictures


  • Any natural or artificial body in orbit around another, usually a planet. The terms ‘Earth satellite’ and ‘artificial Earth satellite,’ used early in the space age to describe artificial satellites of the Earth, are now archaic.

Cars & Driving

  • noun a block of controls near the steering wheel rim


  • noun a small system that is part of a larger system


  • A celestial body that revolves around another. For example, a moon around a planet.
  • An artificial object which orbits a celestial body under the gravitational influence of the latter. Also known as artificial satellite (1).
  • A satellite (3) intended or utilized for communications, broadcasting, observation, testing, research, or the like. Also called artificial satellite (2).

Information & Library Science

  • noun a device sent into space to collect information or to be part of a communications system

Media Studies

  • noun an object that orbits Earth or another planet in order to relay communications signals or transmit scientific data


  • noun an unmanned spacecraft, which is positioned in the earth’s orbit and is designed to carry communications, surveillance or other electronic equipment

Origin & History of “satellite”

Satellite comes via French satellite from Latin satelles ‘attendant, escort’, which itself probably went back to Etruscan satnal. Its use for a ‘body orbiting a planet’ is first recorded in English in 1665, and comes from the astronomer Johannes Kepler’s application of Latin satelles to the moons of Jupiter.