1 of 2


star-of-Beth·​le·​hem -ˈbeth-li-ˌhem How to pronounce star-of-Bethlehem (audio)
: any of various Old World bulbous herbs (genus Ornithogalum) of the lily family with basal leaves resembling grass
especially : one (O. umbellatum) with white star-shaped flowers that is naturalized in the eastern U.S.

star of Bethlehem

2 of 2

noun phrase

: a star which according to Christian tradition guided the Magi to the infant Jesus in Bethlehem

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun phrase
Then came three children dressed as Joseph, Mary and the star of Bethlehem. Jaír F. Coll Genevieve Glatsky, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'star-of-Bethlehem.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1573, in the meaning defined above

Noun Phrase

1789, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of star-of-Bethlehem was in 1573

Dictionary Entries Near star-of-Bethlehem

star of Bethlehem


Star of David

Cite this Entry

“Star-of-Bethlehem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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