con·​stel·​la·​tion | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce constellation (audio) \

Definition of constellation

1 : the configuration of stars especially at one's birth
2 : any of 88 arbitrary configurations of stars or an area of the celestial sphere covering one of these configurations the constellation Orion
3 : an assemblage, collection, or group of usually related persons, qualities, or things … a constellation of … relatives, friends, and hangers-on …— Brendan Gill a constellation of symptoms
4 : pattern, arrangement … taking advantage of the shifting constellation of power throughout the known world.— H. D. Lasswell

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Other Words from constellation

constellatory \ kən-​ˈste-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce constellatory (audio) \ adjective

Examples of constellation in a Sentence

The constellation Ursa Major contains the stars of the Big Dipper. A large constellation of relatives and friends attended the funeral. The patient presented a constellation of symptoms.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In the summer, the observatory rotates several presentations that focus on planets, the solar system and constellations. Erin E. Williams, Washington Post, "In the Central Oregon desert, an observatory with out-of-this-world views," 13 Sep. 2019 The cantata, which lasts 79 minutes, is in 14 short movements that examine in unforeseen fashion the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, or to most of us, the Big and Little Dipper. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Musicians turn the Big Dipper into an ‘interstellar cantata,’ with help from NASA," 11 Sep. 2019 This weekend the waxing gibbous moon will be passing by the bright planet Saturn just above the constellation Sagittarius. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Mike Lynch: Celestial congestion of Hercules Cluster is a treasure," 8 Sep. 2019 Starlink alone could involve thousands of satellites, and rival internet constellations from Amazon and OneWeb are also in the pipeline. Jack Guy, CNN, "European satellite changed course to avoid SpaceX collision," 4 Sep. 2019 Moon buzzes Beehive—September 24 At least an hour before local sunrise try using binoculars to spot the Beehive star cluster tucked underneath the thin crescent moon in the constellation Cancer, the crab. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "See Neptune at its best and more top stargazing in September," 1 Sep. 2019 Learn about constellations at local astronomy nights Local astronomers and OC Parks staff will host free astronomy nights on Friday in Newport Beach and Saturday in Laguna Beach. Daily Pilot, "Around Town: Celebrity benefit returning to Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach," 21 Aug. 2019 They're called Perseids because their radiant — the area of the sky where meteors appear to originate from — is located near the constellation Perseus, the American Meteor Society explained. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "When and where to watch the Perseid meteor shower peak tonight," 12 Aug. 2019 The Perseid meteor shower, first documented by Chinese astronomers in 36 A.D., is named because the shooting stars seem to come from the direction of Perseus, a large constellation in the northern sky. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, "Here comes the best meteor shower of the year: How and when to watch the Perseids," 8 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of constellation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for constellation

Middle English constellacioun, from Anglo-French constellation, from Late Latin constellation-, constellatio, from Latin com- + stella star — more at star

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Statistics for constellation

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for constellation

The first known use of constellation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for constellation



English Language Learners Definition of constellation

: a group of stars that forms a particular shape in the sky and has been given a name
formal : a group of people or things that are similar in some way


con·​stel·​la·​tion | \ ˌkän-stə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce constellation (audio) \

Kids Definition of constellation

: any of 88 named groups of stars forming patterns


con·​stel·​la·​tion | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce constellation (audio) \

Medical Definition of constellation

: a set of ideas, conditions, symptoms, or traits that fall into or appear to fall into a pattern: as
a : a group of stimulus conditions or factors affecting personality and behavior development the way in which family constellation and handling of punishment influenced this particular boy— S. B. Sarason
b : a group of behavioral or personality traits

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