con·stel·la·tion | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈlā-shən \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from constellation

constellatory \kən-ˈste-lə-ˌtȯr-ē \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That spacecraft traced the neutrino back to an obscure dot in the sky, a distant galaxy known as TXS 0506+056, just off the left shoulder of the constellation Orion, which was having a high-energy outburst of X-rays and gamma-rays. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "It Came From a Black Hole, and Landed in Antarctica," 12 July 2018 The system in question, known as PSR J0337+1715, is located 4,200 light-years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Taurus. Mike Wall, NBC News, "Einstein's theory of relativity passes its toughest test yet," 5 July 2018 So look to the southeast in the vicinity of the constellation Aquarius. Richard Tribou,, "Mars in opposition highlight of July's night sky," 3 July 2018 Inside, the talk was of commercial missions to the moon, constellations of satellites, space tourism, and a trillion-dollar space economy. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "While some NW space companies show progress, asteroid miner Planetary Resources is in rocky shape," 26 June 2018 Haro discovered flare stars in the region of the Orion constellation, according to Google. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Google Doodle pays tribute to Mexican astronomer Guillermo Haro," 21 Mar. 2018 The Italian bacon rested on metal bars that formed a sort of constellation on top of the table that had richly marbled hues of turquoise, deep sea blue and frothy white. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "A new dinner with Indy's best chefs is selling out at $150 a plate. Here's why.," 19 Mar. 2018 The rocket will carry two more LEMUR-2 satellites for Spire to join the company's existing constellation of 50 nanosatellites. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "Rocket Lab to Attempt "It's Business Time" Launch Tonight," 22 June 2018 Each constellation, a tiny ruby peaking out from beneath the soil. Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "What It Feels Like to Go on Accutane," 11 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about constellation

Share constellation

Statistics for constellation

Last Updated

18 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for constellation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

: a group of people or things that are similar in some way


con·stel·la·tion | \ ˌkän-stə-ˈlā-shən \

Kids Definition of constellation

: any of 88 named groups of stars forming patterns


con·stel·la·tion | \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈlā-shən \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on constellation

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


an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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