su·​per·​no·​va | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈnō-və How to pronounce supernova (audio) \

Definition of supernova

1 : the explosion of a star in which the star may reach a maximum intrinsic luminosity one billion times that of the sun
2 : one that explodes into prominence or popularity also : superstar

Did you know?

A nova, despite its name, isn't actually a "new" star, but rather one that wasn't noticed until it exploded, when it may increase in brightness by a million times before returning to its previous state a few days later. A supernova is far larger; a star in its supernova state may emit a billion times as much light as previously. After a few weeks it begins to dim, until it eventually ceases to exist; it's often replaced by a black hole. (Though remains that were shot out into space may survive; those of a great supernova seen in A.D. 1054 are now known as the Crab Nebula.) All this may serve as a warning to those human stars whose fame explodes too rapidly; supernovas of this kind have sometimes vanished by the following year.

Examples of supernova in a Sentence

tragically, a shoulder injury cut short the pitching career of one of baseball's brightest supernovas
Recent Examples on the Web The most distant supernova seen by astronomers to date goes back 12 billion years. Marcia Dunn, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 Mar. 2022 The most distant supernova seen by astronomers to date goes back 12 billion years. Marcia Dunn, Baltimore Sun, 30 Mar. 2022 The most distant supernova seen by astronomers to date goes back 12 billion years. NBC News, 30 Mar. 2022 When a giant star explodes in a final, dramatic supernova, its collapse creates a tiny clot of matter so dense that its gravitational pull warps the fabric of space and time around it. Corinne Purtillstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 Early startup mentality was often driven by anxiety about this new supernova of E-commerce. Stephan Rabimov, Forbes, 7 May 2022 The star lost a large chunk of its mass before its reverse shock supernova. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 10 Apr. 2022 The beautiful remnants of the Cassiopeia A supernova are located about 11,000 light-years away from Earth. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 16 Feb. 2022 This type of supernova is essentially a rapid collapse of the energy in the star before what’s left of its core explodes. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 11 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of supernova

1932, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for supernova

New Latin

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Time Traveler for supernova

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The first known use of supernova was in 1932

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Last Updated

6 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Supernova.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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