lode·star | \ˈlōd-ˌstär \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of lodestar 

1 archaic : a star that leads or guides especially : north star

2 : one that serves as an inspiration, model, or guide

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Did You Know?

The literal, albeit archaic, meaning of "lodestar" is "a star that leads or guides; especially : the North Star." (The first half of the word derives from the Middle English word "lode," meaning "course.") Both the literal and the figurative sense ("an inspiration or guide") date back to the 14th century, the time of Geoffrey Chaucer. The literal sense fell out of use in the 17th century, and so, for a while, did the figurative sense - but it appeared again 170 years later, when Sir Walter Scott used it in his 1813 poem The Bridal of Triermain.

Examples of lodestar in a Sentence

The idea of public service has been a lodestar for her throughout her life. a society seemingly with unbridled greed as its only lodestar

Recent Examples on the Web

Superstition aside, the house is indeed my family’s lodestar, keeping us connected with the elements, our senses, and one another, and always pointing us in the right direction. Zander Abranowicz, ELLE Decor, "A Modern Take on Greek Island Living in Serifos," 2 July 2018 Keep It Simple The kitchen island serves both as central gathering spot and style lodestar, with black-and-white cement tile that supplies the contemporary edge the couple was looking for. Joanna Linberg, Sunset, "Stunning DIY Renovation Brightens a Spanish Colonial Revival Home," 22 Jan. 2018 Sol LeWitt, whose deceptively simple geometric sculptures and drawings and ecstatically colored and jazzy wall paintings established him as a lodestar of modern American art, died yesterday in New York. Jon Lender, courant.com, "Jon Lender: $480K For Blocks Of Color On UConn Lobby's Wall," 1 June 2018 In the past 15 years, though, these lodestars have come to mean less and less. Jeffrey Selingo, The Atlantic, "The Two Most Important College-Admissions Criteria Now Mean Less," 25 May 2018 Our political concerns instead trend upward and toward the symbolic; equal representation is the lodestar. John Benjamin, The New Republic, "Business Class," 14 May 2018 Nonetheless, the firm is focused on the long term and sees the developers who build up crypto platforms as its lodestar. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "How to Value Bitcoin and Invest in the Crypto Economy: New Advice from Chris Burniske," 4 May 2018 Last year, a 50th anniversary special featured testimonials from comedians for whom Ms. Burnett was a lodestar, especially women such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Tracee Ellis Ross. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "Carol Burnett, In Charge Again," 2 May 2018 Vice President Mike Pence recently compared his boss Donald Trump to Roosevelt; in 2016, candidate Hillary Clinton named the Rough Rider as her political lodestar. Michael Patrick Cullinane, Smithsonian, "Why Teddy Roosevelt Is Popular On Both Sides of the Political Aisle," 24 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lodestar.' 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 lodestar

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lodestar

Middle English lode sterre, from lode course, from Old English lād

perhaps from the notion of the lodestar as a guiding light or principle

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

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English Language Learners Definition of lodestar

: something or someone that leads or guides a person or group of people


lode·star | \ˈlōd-ˌstär\

Legal Definition of lodestar 

: the amount obtained by multiplying the reasonable amount of hours spent by an attorney working on a case by the reasonable hourly billing rate for purposes of calculating an award of attorney's fees

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Comments on lodestar

What made you want to look up lodestar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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