Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A star, especially Polaris, that is used as a point of reference.
  • n. A guiding principle, interest, or ambition.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A star used as a navigation reference, particularly a pole star such as Polaris.
  • n. A guiding tenet or principle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as loadstar.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A star that leads or serves to guide; especially, the pole-star: often used figuratively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. guiding star; a star that is used as a reference point in navigation or astronomy
  • n. something that serves as a model or guide

Etymologies

Middle English lodesterre : lode, way; see lode + sterre, star; see star.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From lode (“journey, course”) +‎ star, where lode is an archaic noun from the verb lead. Cognate with Old Norse leiðarstjarna, German Leitstern, Swedish ledstjärna. English from the 14th century as loode sterre, lood-sterre, lade-sterne, 15th century lode sterre, 16th century lode starre. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • North Korean state media had used the term "lodestar" in reference to Kim Jong Il, as well as for the name of long-range rockets the country tested in 1998 and 2009, the NYT reports.

    North Korea To Punish Mourners Who Were Insincere

  • Remember our nation's lodestar is a better future.

    Hal Donahue: "Capitalists" Didn't Build America; We Did

  • His theological lodestar is Augustine, not Thomas Aquinas.

    Letters to the Editor

  • To believe that Obama is a socialist merely assumes his continued commitment to a world he has long described as his lodestar.

    Radical-In-Chief

  • "Are we losing our lodestar, which is the Bill of Rights?"

    Easter Lemming Liberal News

  • Blood and death suffuses the history of southern Africa, but our lodestar is a noble hope.

    OLOF PALME AND THE LIBERATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

  • The lodestar was a term North Korean propagandists had used for Mr. Kim.

    NYT > Global Home

  • Smith's favourite movie, is, she says, a 'lodestar' to her when writing anything: 'The time to make your mind up about people is never!'

    Old Media Monday: Reviewing the Reviewers

  • For many years, the British monarchy acted as a kind of lodestar for Americans, representing its nation's realpolitik process while itself escaping any overt political involvement.

    Such Good Friends

  • Despite bitter disputes with France and Germany before the Iraq invasion in 2003, Washington has come to rely on the European Union over the last year as "a kind of lodestar," in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's words, that inspires and attracts democratic movements from Ukraine to the Middle East.

    EUROPE'S DREAM DEFERRED

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  • Lady, lady, should you meet
    One whose ways are all discreet,
    One who murmurs that his wife
    Is the lodestar of his life,
    One who keeps assuring you
    That he never was untrue,
    Never loved another one...
    Lady, lady better run.


    (Dorothy Parker)

    June 17, 2008