Main meanings of atlas in English

: atlas1Atlas2


Pronunciation /ˈatləs/

See synonyms for atlas on

Translate atlas into Spanish


  • 1A book of maps or charts.

    ‘I looked in the atlas to see where Naples was’
    • ‘a road atlas’
    • ‘Since they were all manuscript, no two charts or atlases were alike in size, decoration or cartographic content.’
    • ‘Picture one of those mileage charts you get in the front of road atlases.’
    • ‘By 1650, two-thirds of the continent's coast were thus widely known not only in Europe, but also wherever Dutch charts, atlases, and globes were distributed.’
    • ‘But the greatest impact has come through global warming, with successive editions of the atlas showing shrinking ice fields and evaporating lakes.’
    • ‘Among them were prints in valuable 16th and 17th century editions of atlases by Mercator, Speed, Jansson and Blaeu.’
    • ‘Don't be surprised when the public stick to their trusty road atlases!’
    • ‘Up the hill, through that pass, turn left after a bit was what I remembered from the road atlas.’
    • ‘Back at home, he went into his den and got out his road atlas.’
    • ‘If you're hiring a car, you may need a road atlas.’
    • ‘Carl had been poring over the pages of a road atlas.’
    • ‘The plot is about as difficult to read as a road atlas.’
    • ‘Finally, we located these sites on a road atlas for the use of our volunteers.’
    • ‘Taking the road atlas with her, Misha got out of the lorry cab again and headed over to the white and red lorry belonging to the Polish driver.’
    • ‘The very few who carried a road atlas seemed incapable of reading it as they sought a way out of their self-inflicted predicament.’
    • ‘This was probably the first collection of maps in book form twenty years before Mercator published his atlas.’
    • ‘The collection also features world maps, and includes atlases, globes, school geographies, maritime charts, and a variety of pocket, wall, children's, and manuscript maps.’
    • ‘Even the way we learn and package information from books, magazines, atlases, and newspapers has improved.’
    • ‘The school has no electricity and no running water, classes of up to 70, teachers who often do not get paid their five dollars a week and the only book is an atlas from 1956.’
    • ‘Mercator's main work, an atlas, was published in several editions from 1585 on and beyond his death in 1594.’
    • ‘Some of my favorite books are old, gorgeously illustrated encyclopedias and atlases.’
    • ‘This technique can be used to generate easily interpretable maps, to animate past and future incidence and to provide consistent visualizations for a national disease atlas.’
    • ‘I am certain that my colleagues at the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach will not rest on this achievement, however, and so I look forward to a third Swiss breeding bird atlas in a few years.’
  • 2

    (also atlas vertebra)
    The topmost vertebra of the backbone, articulating with the occipital bone of the skull.

    ‘There is a well-developed atlas and the caudal vertebrae can be distinguished from the trunk vertebrae by the presence of hemal arches.’
    • ‘Neither the atlas nor the second vertebra bears ribs.’
    • ‘The atlas may be fused with the occipital bone in varying degrees.’
    • ‘Although the atlas and axis are missing, the remaining cervical vertebrae are present and well preserved.’
    • ‘Although poorly represented, other skeletal elements include nine pelvis fragments, two ulna fragments, three atlases, and a few rib fragments.’
  • plural noun atlantes/atˈlantiːz/

    A stone carving of a male figure, used as a column to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building.

    ‘Among its wealth of neoclassical details are the legs in the shape of inverted obelisks, the torsos of draped and winged caryatids and atlantes, and the allegorical figure (possibly Summer).’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the caryatids and atlantes just watch, waiting.’
    • ‘He has designed atlantes to support the temple at the top of John Simpson's towering column, and an art-deco-inspired grouping of gods and titans for the pediment midway up Franck Lohsen McCrery's building.’


Late 16th century (originally denoting a person who supported a great burden): via Latin from Greek Atlas, the Titan of Greek mythology who supported the heavens and whose picture appeared at the front of early atlases.

Main meanings of Atlas in English

: atlas1Atlas2


Pronunciation /ˈatləs/

See synonyms for Atlas on

Translate Atlas into Spanish

proper noun

Greek Mythology
  • One of the Titans, who was punished for his part in their revolt against Zeus by being made to support the heavens. He became identified with the Atlas Mountains.

    muscleman, strongman, macho, macho man, iron man, Hercules, Atlas, Samson, Tarzan