Definition of asterisk in English:
- Scholarly notes are usually signalled by superscript numbers at appropriate points in a text, but such symbols as asterisks and obelisks may be used instead for footnotes.
- Many search engines employ wild cards - special symbols, usually an asterisk (*), that you add to a term to indicate different possibilities.
- Everything should have asterisks and footnotes.
verb[with object] Back to top
- It seems only fair that the new records be somehow asterisked.
- Newspapers still asterisk a word that's common currency in newsrooms up and down the country, but in literature the Chatterley classes started taking it as read.
- All asterisked celebrities were pointed out to me by Seth, who is much better at recognizing famous people than I am, bless him.
Late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek asteriskos 'small star', diminutive of astēr.
The Greeks had two words for ‘star’, astēr and astron. They go back to an ancient root that is also the source of the Latin word stella, which gave us star itself and also stellar (mid 17th century). An asterisk is a little star, the meaning of its source, Greek asteriskos. Asteriskos is from astēr, which is also the root of asteroeidēs, ‘star-like’. This entered English in the early 19th century as asteroid (early 19th century), a term coined by the astronomer William Herschel. Astēr also gave us our name for the plant aster (early 18th century), which has petals rather like an asterisk. Words beginning with astro- come from astron. In the Middle Ages astronomy (Middle English) covered not only astronomy but astrology too. The Greek word it descends from meant ‘star-arranging’. Rather poetically, an astronaut [1920s] is literally a ‘star sailor’. The word comes from Greek astron ‘star’ and nautēs ‘sailor’. It was modelled on aeronaut (late 18th century), a word for a traveller in a hot-air balloon or airship. Cosmonaut [1950s], the Russian equivalent of astronaut, literally means ‘sailor in the cosmos’. See also disaster
- US English dictionary
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.