su·​per·​no·​va | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈnō-və \

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

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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

With a global tour starting in the New Year as well, a crucial precursor entails fitting in some beauty rest—not to mention giving one's skin the requisite pop supernova glow. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ariana Grande Drops Her New “Imagine” Single While Gift Wrapping—And Face Masking—On Instagram," 14 Dec. 2018 This is where supernova models normally stop exploding. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Atoms may come apart as the Universe’s biggest stars explode," 24 Oct. 2018 The most violent explosions known, supernovas can briefly outshine the rest of a galaxy. Yvette Cendes, Discover Magazine, "Searching For Tonight’s Supernova," 17 Aug. 2018 The exception — the man who has long frustrated Houston’s fans — is Bobby Brown, ex-husband and dwarf star to Houston’s supernova. Graham Ambrose,, "Darkness and light in Whitney Houston documentary," 4 July 2018 More than three decades ago, scientists discovered a supernova debris field inside the Small Magellanic Cloud. Doris Elin Salazar,, "'Lonely' Neutron Star Looks Fabulous in This New Close-Up," 31 May 2018 During a supernova, several solar masses of material may reach densities of over 2.6 × 1014 grams per cubic centimeter (for context, lead is 11 grams/cm3). John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Atoms may come apart as the Universe’s biggest stars explode," 24 Oct. 2018 Neutron stars are remnants of supernova explosions and contain about 1.5 times the mass of the Sun – equivalent to about half a million Earths – inside a ball 12 miles across, according to NASA. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Bizarre pulsar in deep space is giving off a strange light and scientists don't know why," 18 Sep. 2018 The knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup will kick off with an explosion of supernova proportions, as two of the tournament's stratospheric names go head to head for a place in the quarter finals., "World Cup Preview: France vs Argentina - Recent Form, Team News, Predictions and More," 29 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of supernova

1932, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for supernova

New Latin

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Statistics for supernova

Last Updated

21 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for supernova

The first known use of supernova was in 1932

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English Language Learners Definition of supernova

astronomy : the explosion of a star that causes the star to become extremely bright

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More from Merriam-Webster on supernova

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with supernova

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for supernova Encyclopedia article about supernova

Comments on supernova

What made you want to look up supernova? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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