asterism

play
noun as·ter·ism \ˈas-tə-ˌri-zəm\

Definition of asterism

  1. 1a :  a group of stars that form a pattern in the night sky On October evenings, when the trees have shed their leaves and stars become visible through the twigs, our best-known asterism, the Big Dipper, passes under the north pole. — George Lovi The term asterism does not now usually refer to a constellation but to a star pattern that makes up part of a constellation or that includes stars from more than one constellation. b :  a small group of stars

  2. 2 :  a star-shaped figure exhibited by some crystals by reflected light (as in a star sapphire) or by transmitted light (as in some mica)

Recent Examples of asterism from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asterism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of asterism

Greek asterismos, from asterizein to arrange in constellations, from aster-, astēr


Learn More about asterism


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up asterism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to relieve or lessen

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!