nova

1 of 2

noun (1)

no·​va ˈnō-və How to pronounce nova (audio)
plural novas or novae ˈnō-(ˌ)vē How to pronounce nova (audio)
-ˌvī
: a star that suddenly increases its light output tremendously and then fades away to its former obscurity in a few months or years
novalike adjective

nova

2 of 2

noun (2)

often capitalized
: cured and smoked salmon
especially : salmon that has been cured in a mixture of salt and sugar and smoked at a low temperature

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

borrowed from New Latin, "newly visible star or nebula" (probably originally as ellipsis of nebula nova, later taken as ellipsis of stella nova "new star"), from feminine of Latin novus "new" — more at new entry 1

Noun (2)

short for Nova Scotia salmon

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1927, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1964, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nova was in 1927

Dictionary Entries Near nova

Cite this Entry

“Nova.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nova. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

nova

noun
no·​va
ˈnō-və
plural novas or novae
-vē,
-ˌvī
: a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness and then within a few months or years grows dim again

More from Merriam-Webster on nova

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY