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 constellation (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 Instead, the aerospace company is looking for other revenue streams to help pay for a Mars mission, such as its Starlink internet constellation. USA Today, "On a planet where you cannot breathe, is living on Mars the best idea?," 30 Dec. 2020 The company, which says its constellation will require only 650 satellites, plans to debut its service by the end of 2021 and will focus on delivering services to businesses rather than directly to consumers. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "SpaceX internet competitor OneWeb is back in action after bankruptcy," 18 Dec. 2020 Individual meteors appear to radiate from its namesake constellation Taurus, which appears to rise in the east late at night. National Geographic, "What is that glow from Europa?," 11 Nov. 2020 Researchers have been using the European Space Agency's Swarm satellite constellation to monitor changes in Earth's magnetic field. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Our Magnetic Field Is Acting Sketchy Again," 1 June 2020 This year was all about Betelgeuse, a red giant star in the Orion constellation thought to be on the brink of a supernova explosion. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "The year 2020 in space discoveries," 24 Dec. 2020 And roaming the perimeter is Dan Algrant, terrific as a successful thriller author whose presence on the ship changes the molecules in this constellation of characters. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest and Candice Bergen have a high time on the high seas," 9 Dec. 2020 In 1572 a Danish astronomer named Tycho Brahe noticed a new star in the constellation Cassiopeia. Anna Y. Q. Ho, Scientific American, "Strange Supernovae Upend Expectations," 26 Nov. 2020 Adding undeniable luster to the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters 2020 Challenge are a constellation of celebrities with strong ties to the state’s communities., "Community news for the Glastonbury edition," 20 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for constellation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for constellation

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Constellation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for constellation


How to pronounce constellation (audio)

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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