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

The Ripples in Spacetime author examines all 88 constellations in our sky and provides their histories in factoid-laden tablets, timelines, and tidbits. Valentina Palladino And Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Ars picks 11 gifts you can get Dad for Father’s Day 2019," 11 June 2019 This beauty is the most brilliant member of the constellation Virgo and represents a grain of wheat being held by this celestial maiden. Arnold Pearlstein,, "The Stars this Week: June 9-15," 9 June 2019 No worries—there are experts onsite available to provide thorough explanations on the constellations and the relevance of the stars in Bolivian culture. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "The Kachi Lodge Stargazing Dome Offers a Next-Level Glamping Experience," 28 May 2019 This launch will put Iridium’s satellite count at 55, and two more launches on the books with SpaceX this year will complete the company's constellation, each adding 10 satellites to the tally. Amy Thompson, WIRED, "Watch SpaceX Launch NASA's Next Earth-Observing Satellites," 22 May 2018 Named for the swan constellation, the Cygnus is making Orbital ATK's ninth contracted delivery for NASA., "NASA shipper Orbital ATK launches space-station supplies," 21 May 2018 The first launch of OneWeb’s low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation may slip into early 2019 on a Soyuz rocket, officials from OneWeb and launch provider Arianespace told SpaceNews. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Exos flies, China sets launch record, new Falcon Heavy data," 31 Aug. 2018 The Greeks tied astrology to the zodiac, those twelve constellations that form a belt around the southern sky. Steven Austad,, "Star gazing in the 21st century," 28 Apr. 2018 Tomaselli's haunting, complex images—of majestic ravens and starlings, tangles of snakes, sparkly constellations made up of flowers and butterflies—have all the mind-expanding power of a hallucinogenic trip without any of the side effects. Peter Terzian, ELLE Decor, "Pills and Thrills," 1 Nov. 2010

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

23 Jun 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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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).


to take the place or position of

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