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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The literal, albeit archaic, meaning of lodestar is "a star that leads or guides," and it is a term that has been used especially in reference to 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 for the most part, 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 Friendly outlets routinely portray Russia as a champion of peace and lodestar of Christian values, while casting NATO as a warmongering menace. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 While Green’s film largely succeeded on all those fronts, becoming a smash hit, Garcia’s feels unnecessary and anonymous, leaning on crass visual shocks while failing to match the unsparing brutality of its lodestar. David Sims, The Atlantic, 18 Feb. 2022 As the Internet’s lineup has shifted, Syd has remained its lodestar, leading the group’s increasingly eclectic charge into experimental music. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 14 Apr. 2022 Mira counts Cha as a lodestar, a breakthrough figure in addressing the Asian American experience through experimentation. New York Times, 23 Mar. 2022 This legal strategy is part of DxE’s strategic roadmap toward its lodestar goal: an Animal Bill of Rights and an end factory farming in the U.S by the year 2040. Andrew Schwartz, The New Republic, 23 Feb. 2022 In an emergency or crisis, the vision and mission can provide a lodestar for actions when the usual information-vetting is incomplete. Gregory Crawford, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2022 To mitigate the runaway consequences of extraction, pre-colonial practices have become a lodestar for systemic change. Alex Quicho, Wired, 9 Jan. 2022 For a 12-year-old from Te Puke, the 1966 Le Mans was a lodestar. WSJ, 11 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

30 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lodestar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lodestar. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for lodestar


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

More from Merriam-Webster on lodestar

Nglish: Translation of lodestar for Spanish Speakers


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