lode·​star | \ ˈlōd-ˌstär How to pronounce lodestar (audio) \
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 For days after his family announced his passing, people took to Twitter to express their surprise and pain at losing a lodestar of popular Black cinema. Reginald Dwayne Betts Kiese Makeba Laymon Carina Del Valle Schorske Dessa Irina Aleksander Sam Dolnick Mark Binelli Maggie Jones Rob Hoerburger Jamie Lauren Keiles Devin Gordon Jazmine Hughes Jenna Wortham Jade Chang Taffy Brodesser-akner Kaitlyn Greenidge Rowan Ricardo Phillips Michael Paterniti Wesley Morris Ismail Muhammad Anthony Giardina, New York Times, "Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.," 23 Dec. 2020 At the heart of Soth and Cabrera’s connection is art: art as a container of meaning, a honing steel for the sensibilities, a lodestar for living. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, "A Photographer and an Inmate Exchange Ways of Seeing," 13 Dec. 2020 But doing the right thing in the end is not a bad lodestar. Bruce Peterson, Star Tribune, "Make America grateful again," 24 Nov. 2020 More than once her worshipful gaze landed upon The 510 Haute Cuisine, the gastronomic lodestar that served as a career launchpad for many influential chefs, some of whom continue to resonate with today’s diners. Rick Nelson, Star Tribune, "The highs and lows of early Twin Cities dining scene detailed by influential critic Joan Siegel," 28 Oct. 2020 Trump said nothing about boosting fossil fuel production, the lodestar of his administration’s energy agenda. Adam Aton, Scientific American, "Climate Change Receives Unexpected Attention at First Presidential Debate," 30 Sep. 2020 Melanie is also Old Dolio’s lodestar, an embodiment of seductive and dangerous possibility who holds out the prospect of rebirth. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Kajillionaire’ Review: Lowbrow Larceny," 24 Sep. 2020 So what’s the P/E-like ratio that for gold, in the long run, is the lodestar that always guides gold back home? Shawn Tully, Fortune, "What’s driving the new gold rush?," 15 Aug. 2020 Bach was a lodestar, and would ever hover in the background of Penderecki’s life. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "A Composer Who Matters," 13 Aug. 2020

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

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

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lodestar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lodestar. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for lodestar


How to pronounce lodestar (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lodestar

formal : 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

History and Etymology for lodestar

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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lodestar

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