Definition of asterisk
1 : the character * used in printing or writing as a reference mark, as an indication of the omission of letters or words, to denote a hypothetical or unattested linguistic form, or for various arbitrary meanings
2 : the character * thought of as being appended to something (such as an athletic accomplishment included in a record book) typically in order to indicate that there is a limiting fact or consideration which makes that thing less important or impressive than it would otherwise be But the men's triumph came with an asterisk: The Soviets, three-time gold medalists, had boycotted the Games. — Brad Young
asterisklessplay \-ləs\ adjective
asterisk was our Word of the Day on 03/01/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
If someone asked you to associate the word asterisk with a heavenly body, you would probably have no problem relating it to a star - even if you didn't know that the word asterisk derives from "asteriskos," a Greek word meaning "little star." "Asterisk" has been a part of the constellation of English since at least the late 1300s, but it is far from the only shining star in our language. The Greek forms astēr, "astro," and "astrum" (all of which mean "star") still cast their light in English by way of such words as "asteroid," "astral," and "disaster" (which originally meant "an unfavorable aspect of a planet or star"). Even "star" itself is a distant relative of "asterisk."
Origin and Etymology of asterisk
Middle English, astarisc, from Late Latin asteriscus, from Greek asteriskos, literally, little star, diminutive of aster-, astēr
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Definition of asterisk
: to mark with an asterisk : star
ASTERISK Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of asterisk for English Language Learners
: a symbol * that is used in printed text especially to tell someone to read a note that can be found at the bottom of a page
ASTERISK Defined for Kids
Definition of asterisk for Students
: a symbol * used in printing or in writing especially to refer a reader to a note usually at the bottom of a page
Seen and Heard
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