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

They're called Perseids because their radiant – the area of the sky where meteors appear to originate from – is located near the constellation Perseus, the American Meteor Society explained. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "When and where to watch the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks tonight," 12 Aug. 2019 In the case of the Perseids, the radiant is the constellation Perseus. Leada Gore |, al, "Perseid meteor shower 2019 peaks tonight: Best times, places to watch; livestream," 12 Aug. 2019 Look for the constellation Perseus in the northeastern portion of the sky. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Catch a shooting star: The summer's best meteor shower – the Perseids – peak tonight," 12 Aug. 2019 The two bodies will make for a striking pair nestled within the constellation Sagittarius. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "Perseids peak, and more top stargazing events in August," 1 Aug. 2019 The delays in disbursement, the constellation of different agencies offering different funding sources, and delays that require families to live in temporary housing, ultimately delay recovery and rebuilding and require even more federal funds. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How federal flood policy is, and isn’t, addressing climate change today," 29 July 2019 Looking halfway between the horizon and the zenith, and 45 degrees from the constellation of Aquarius will improve your chances of viewing the Delta Aquariids. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The Delta Aquariid meteor shower happens Monday night. Here’s how to watch.," 29 July 2019 The colorful constellation of data shows how concentrated Democratic donors are in a few metros — almost a third of the total amount the candidates raised from large-dollar donors came from just a dozen cities. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Interactive map: Where Democratic presidential candidates are getting their money," 19 July 2019 While the basketball world wonders who might be the third player to form the Lakers’ newest constellation of stars, the Clippers are patiently waiting for their moment in the spotlight. Arash Markazi,, "With Anthony Davis and possibly Kawhi Leonard, Lakers and Clippers make Staples center of NBA universe," 19 June 2019

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

18 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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