Star (stär), n. [OE. sterre,
AS. steorra; akin to OFries. stera, OS. sterro,
D. ster, OHG. sterno, sterro, G. stern,
Icel. stjarna, Sw. stjerna, Dan. stierne, Goth.
staírnō, Armor. & Corn. steren, L.
stella, Gr. 'asth`r, 'a`stron, Skr.
star; perhaps from a root meaning, to scatter, Skr.
stṛ, L. sternere (cf. Stratum), and
originally applied to the stars as being strewn over the sky, or as
being scatterers or spreaders of light. √296. Cf. Aster,
Asteroid, Constellation, Disaster,
Stellar.] 1. One of the innumerable
luminous bodies seen in the heavens; any heavenly body other than the
sun, moon, comets, and nebulæ.
His eyen twinkled in his head aright,
As do the stars in the frosty night.
☞ The stars are distinguished as planets, and fixed
stars. See Planet, Fixed stars under Fixed,
and Magnitude of a star under Magnitude.
2. The polestar; the north star.
3. (Astrol.) A planet supposed to
influence one's destiny; (usually pl.) a configuration of the
planets, supposed to influence fortune.
O malignant and ill-brooding stars.
Blesses his stars, and thinks it
4. That which resembles the figure of a star,
as an ornament worn on the breast to indicate rank or honor.
On whom . . .
Lavish Honor showered all her stars.
5. Specifically, a radiated mark in writing or
printing; an asterisk [thus, *]; -- used as a reference to a note, or
to fill a blank where something is omitted, etc.
6. (Pyrotechny) A composition of
combustible matter used in the heading of rockets, in mines, etc.,
which, exploding in the air, presents a starlike appearance.
7. A person of brilliant and attractive
qualities, especially on public occasions, as a distinguished orator,
a leading theatrical performer, etc.
☞ Star is used in the formation of compound words
generally of obvious signification: as, star-aspiring,
star-bespangled, star-bestudded, star-blasting,
star-bright, star-crowned, star-directed,
star-eyed, star-headed, star-paved, star-
roofed; star-sprinkled, star-wreathed.
Blazing star, Double star,
Multiple star, Shooting star, etc.
See under Blazing, Double, etc. --
Nebulous star (Astron.), a small well-
defined circular nebula, having a bright nucleus at its center like a
star. -- Star anise (Bot.), any
plant of the genus Illicium; -- so called from its star-shaped
capsules. -- Star apple (Bot.), a
tropical American tree (Chrysophyllum Cainito), having a milky
juice and oblong leaves with a silky-golden pubescence beneath. It
bears an applelike fruit, the carpels of which present a starlike
figure when cut across. The name is extended to the whole genus of
about sixty species, and the natural order (Sapotaceæ) to
which it belongs is called the Star-apple family. --
Star conner, one who cons, or studies, the
stars; an astronomer or an astrologer. Gascoigne. --
Star coral (Zoöl.), any one of
numerous species of stony corals belonging to Astræa,
Orbicella, and allied genera, in which the calicles are round
or polygonal and contain conspicuous radiating septa. --
Star cucumber. (Bot.) See under
Cucumber. -- Star flower. (Bot.)
(a) A plant of the genus Ornithogalum;
star-of-Bethlehem. (b) See Starwort
(b). (c) An American plant of
the genus Trientalis (Trientalis Americana).
Gray. -- Star fort (Fort.), a fort
surrounded on the exterior with projecting angles; -- whence the
name. -- Star gauge (Ordnance), a
long rod, with adjustable points projecting radially at its end, for
measuring the size of different parts of the bore of a gun. --
Star grass. (Bot.) (a) A
small grasslike plant (Hypoxis erecta) having star-shaped
yellow flowers. (b) The colicroot. See
Colicroot. -- Star hyacinth
(Bot.), a bulbous plant of the genus Scilla (S.
autumnalis); -- called also star-headed hyacinth. --
Star jelly (Bot.), any one of several
gelatinous plants (Nostoc commune, N. edule, etc.). See
Nostoc. -- Star lizard.
(Zoöl.) Same as Stellion. -- Star-
of-Bethlehem (Bot.), a bulbous liliaceous plant
(Ornithogalum umbellatum) having a small white starlike
flower. -- Star-of-the-earth (Bot.),
a plant of the genus Plantago (P. coronopus), growing
upon the seashore. -- Star polygon
(Geom.), a polygon whose sides cut each other so as to form
a star-shaped figure. -- Stars and Stripes,
a popular name for the flag of the United States, which consists
of thirteen horizontal stripes, alternately red and white, and a union
having, in a blue field, white stars to represent the several States,
one for each.
With the old flag, the true American flag, the Eagle,
and the Stars and Stripes, waving over the chamber in which we
sit. D. Webster.
-- Star showers. See Shooting star,
under Shooting. -- Star thistle
(Bot.), an annual composite plant (Centaurea
solstitialis) having the involucre armed with radiating
spines. -- Star wheel (Mach.), a
star-shaped disk, used as a kind of ratchet wheel, in repeating
watches and the feed motions of some machines. -- Star
worm (Zoöl.), a gephyrean. --
Temporary star (Astron.), a star which
appears suddenly, shines for a period, and then nearly or quite
disappears. These stars are supposed by some astronometers to be
variable stars of long and undetermined periods. --
Variable star (Astron.), a star whose
brilliancy varies periodically, generally with regularity, but
sometimes irregularly; -- called periodical star when its
changes occur at fixed periods. -- Water star
grass (Bot.), an aquatic plant (Schollera
graminea) with small yellow starlike blossoms.