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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The decisive matchups In a constellation of talent taking the field, a few players stand out. Hayden Bird,, "What to know about the World Cup title match," 14 July 2018 The neutrino originated in a blazar galaxy nearly four billion light-years away, in the constellation Orion. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "'Ghost particles' from outer space: Scientists discover distant source of neutrinos," 12 July 2018 The brothers Castor and Pollux are immortalized in the Gemini constellation. Vanessa Hua,, "Stargazing summer," 5 July 2018 The first-of-its-kind image — included in new research to be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics — shows an alien world known as PDS 70b that orbits a dwarf star some 370 light-years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus. David Freeman /, NBC News, "Giant telescope captures first-ever snapshot of a newborn planet," 3 July 2018 If your average festival has stars on the bill, Ladyland is a constellation of icons. New York Times, "Fun Things to Do This Weekend: Pride, Summer Solstice and Sensory Overload in Brighton Beach," 21 June 2018 Venus is the planet that governs romance, while Pisces is the constellation that rules dreams. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What February's Pisces Horoscope Means for You," 30 Jan. 2018 LeBron is The Main Laker now, the latest in a constellation that includes Wilt, Elgin, Jerry, Kareem, Magic, Shaq and Kobe. Jason Gay, WSJ, "It’s La-La Land for LeBron James," 2 July 2018 Ellicott City is a star in the constellation of attractive Maryland villages with inviting Main Streets. Dan Rodricks,, "Ellicott City flood was no 'act of God'," 29 May 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.

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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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Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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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

: 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

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