stel·​lar ˈste-lər How to pronounce stellar (audio)
: of or relating to the stars : astral
: composed of stars
: of or relating to a theatrical or film star
stellar names
: principal, leading
a stellar role
: outstanding
a stellar performance

Did you know?

Stella, the Latin word for "star," shines brightly in the word constellation, but stella words have been favored by scientists to describe earthly things as much as heavenly bodies. Stellar was once used to mean "star-shaped." That use is no longer current, but today biologists and geologists might use one of these synonyms: stellular, stellate, and stelliform. Poets, too, have looked to stella. John Milton used stellar in its infancy when he wrote in Paradise Lost "these soft fires … shed down their stellar virtue." Stellar shot into its leading role as a synonym of star (as when we say "stellar pupil") in the late 1800s.

Example Sentences

the rate of stellar expansion The movie has a stellar cast.
Recent Examples on the Web Ira, unfortunately Victor Oladipo’s shooting has been off, but his defense has been stellar. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 30 Dec. 2022 The fight scenes are stellar, and the 2010 film is an explosive homage to classic action flicks of the '80s and '90s — right down to the Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo — and the sequels are just as much fun. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 21 Dec. 2022 Our tester appreciated that signage is stellar, there's plenty to touch and there are several stations to wash hands. Karen Cicero, Good Housekeeping, 19 Dec. 2022 Alabama has the more reliable kicker in senior Will Reichard, but Kansas State has been stellar on special teams overall, ranking in the top 10 nationally in both kickoff return yardage (eighth) and net punting yards (10th). Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 15 Dec. 2022 Everything about this oil is stellar, including its formulation, ingredient selection and effectiveness. Dallas News, 30 Nov. 2022 The fifth-place finish was certainly an anomaly in Ledecky's stellar career. CBS News, 30 Dec. 2022 Until, that is, Max Martin's final pass of a stellar career wound up complete for what would've been a first down, except Central forced and recovered a fumble on the play to end the game and set off a raucous celebration. Ben Stapley, The Arizona Republic, 10 Nov. 2022 Astros ace Justin Verlander pitched the first five innings and got the win, adding his first World Series victory to an already stellar career. Harold Maass, The Week, 4 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stellar.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Late Latin stellaris, from Latin stella star — more at star

First Known Use

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of stellar was circa 1656


Dictionary Entries Near stellar

Cite this Entry

“Stellar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


stel·​lar ˈstel-ər How to pronounce stellar (audio)
: of or relating to the stars
stellar light
: principal entry 1, leading
a stellar role
: outstanding sense 3
a stellar performance

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