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

Her lodestar on sustainability is the outdoor gear company Patagonia, with its recycling programs and environmental activism. Washington Post, "Gabriela Hearst is dressing women for a new era of political power," 17 Aug. 2019 Economists typically treat rational self-interest as the lodestar of human behaviour. The Economist, "A society’s values and beliefs matter for its economy," 25 July 2019 An important truth, and the lodestar of Harry Jaffa’s life. Mike Potemra, National Review, "Born on the Fourth of July," 4 July 2019 Like Bali was in the 1960s, Bhutan is becoming the lodestar for seekers of physical and spiritual wellbeing. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Travel to Bhutan with Town & Country and &Beyond," 10 May 2019 Influential Images Beyond simply eschewing democracy, Beijing increasingly poses as an authoritarian foil to Western liberalism — acting as a lodestar for developing nations that similarly seek to divorce economic reforms from political concessions. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "How the Tiananmen Square Massacre Changed China Forever," 4 June 2019 Many psephologists have taken to arguing that Leave and Remain are beginning to trump left and right as the lodestars of political loyalty. The Economist, "Labour holds Peterborough, slowing the Brexit Party’s momentum," 7 June 2019 Creating jobs, particularly for neglected blue-collar working men, and reducing immigration have been at the center of President Trump’s agenda and a lodestar for his supporters. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "With Jobs to Fill, Businesses Play the Visa Lottery," 27 June 2018 But across all these iterations of conservatism, the true lodestar of conservatism remained fanatical opposition to taxing the wealthy or regulating the economy. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Republicans are preparing to disavow Trump if he fails — then come back and try the same policies," 6 Sep. 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

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Statistics for lodestar

Last Updated

28 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for lodestar

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

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More Definitions for lodestar



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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More from Merriam-Webster on lodestar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lodestar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lodestar

Spanish Central: Translation of lodestar

Nglish: Translation of lodestar for Spanish Speakers

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 from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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