noun con·stel·la·tion \ ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈlā-shən \
Updated on: 18 Mar 2018

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


play \kən-ˈste-lə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

Examples of constellation in a Sentence

  1. The constellation Ursa Major contains the stars of the Big Dipper.

  2. A large constellation of relatives and friends attended the funeral.

  3. The patient presented a constellation of symptoms.

Recent Examples of constellation from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of constellation

Middle English constellacioun, from Anglo-French constellation, from Late Latin constellation-, constellatio, from Latin com- + stella star — more at star

CONSTELLATION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of constellation for English Language Learners

  • : 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

CONSTELLATION Defined for Kids


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

Definition of constellation for Students

: any of 88 named groups of stars forming patterns

Medical Dictionary


noun 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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a central unit of trained personnel

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