3. 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.
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. See Tolerate.