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 SpaceX launched its 13th Starlink deployment mission Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, adding 60 small satellites to its constellation and taking the total launched to nearly 800. Thomas Seal,, "Musk Teases Test of Satellite Broadband Following Latest Launch," 6 Oct. 2020 Most of Trump's core enterprises — from his constellation of golf courses to his conservative-magnet hotel in Washington — report losing millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars year after year. Russ Buettner, Star Tribune, "Trump's taxes show chronic losses and years of income tax avoidance," 27 Sep. 2020 No one experiences all these symptoms to the letter; everyone has their own constellation. Eleanor Morgan,, "What Causes PMDD? Yeah, They Don’t Know," 10 Sep. 2020 Now, beginning as early as Thursday morning, SpaceX may go for three more launches this month to continue building out its Starlink satellite-Internet constellation. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "SpaceX targets another Starlink launch Thursday to continue record pace," 3 Sep. 2020 Sit outside for at least 20 minutes so that your eyes can adjust, then look up at the sky toward the Betelgeuse star in the Orion constellation. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, "The Orionid Meteor Shower Will Light Up the Sky With Shooting Stars This October — Here's How to See It," 29 Sep. 2020 An ultra-hot exoplanet with searing temperatures that can turn iron from a solid to a gas has been detected orbiting a star 322 light-years away in the Libra constellation. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "'Extreme' exoplanet found orbiting hot blue star," 28 Sep. 2020 Sirius is in the constellation Canis Major the Greater Dog. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Extended Outlook Calls for Cold Fronts," 26 Sep. 2020 Many evacuees are quartered in a constellation of hotels in downtown New Orleans. Matt Sledge,, "Lake Charles evacuees in New Orleans weary as Hurricane Sally approaches: 'The tropics have gone crazy'," 14 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for constellation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for constellation

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Constellation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for constellation


How to pronounce constellation (audio)

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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