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

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The European Space Agency's CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite, known colloquially as Cheops, discovered the distant planet within the constellation Hercules earlier this week. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 13 Jan. 2022 In a recent video celebrating her 40th birthday, Meghan wore two gold constellation necklaces by Logan Hollowell representing the zodiac signs of her two children. Alex Warner,, 11 Jan. 2022 Because for the last half-decade, the company has been simultaneously developing a next-generation rocket, Starship, and the ambitious Starlink constellation. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 7 Jan. 2022 The first Falcon 9 launch of the year is slated to lift off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A carrying 49 Starlink satellites to the company’s growing constellation of internet satellites. Richard Tribou,, 6 Jan. 2022 This shower, which produced a notably spectacular meteor storm in 1966, radiates from the Leo the Lion constellation. Christine Condon,, 2 Jan. 2022 The left is now an unruly mix, mainly divided between the Socialists, the Greens and the far-left France Unbowed — not to mention the constellation of small far-left parties that have emerged from the near collapse of the Communist Party. New York Times, 29 Dec. 2021 Now visible high in the sky right after dark, perhaps the most famous constellation of all never looks better than in late December. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 26 Dec. 2021 The images she was drawn to made up the constellation of her noticing, created her singular vocabulary. Emma Cline, The New Yorker, 23 Dec. 2021

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

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best telescopes for kids.

Learn More About constellation

Time Traveler for constellation

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near constellation




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for constellation

Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Constellation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 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


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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