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

  • n. A star-shaped figure (*) used chiefly to indicate an omission, a reference to a footnote, or an unattested word, sound, or affix.
  • transitive v. To mark with an asterisk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Symbol (*).
  • n. A blemish in an otherwise outstanding achievement.
  • n. Alternate of Asteriscus.
  • v. To mark with an asterisk symbol (*)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The figure of a star, thus, �, used in printing and writing as a reference to a passage or note in the margin, to supply the omission of letters or words, or to mark a word or phrase as having a special character.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To insert an asterisk (in a text) as the reference to a foot-note or for any other reason for which an asterisk is used. See asterisk, 1.
  • n. The figure of a star (*), used in printing and writing— as a reference to a passage or note in the margin; to distinguish words or phrases as conjectural, theoretical, unverified, obscure, or as having some other specified character; to mark the omission of words or letters; and arbitrarily, as a mark of classification.
  • n. Something in the shape of or resembling an asterisk.
  • n. In the Gr. Ch., a frame consisting of two arches of metal, crossing each other at right angles, placed on the paten and over the prepared bread of the eucharist to prevent contact with the covering veil.

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

  • v. mark with an asterisk
  • n. a star-shaped character * used in printing


Middle English, from Late Latin asteriscus, from Greek asteriskos, diminutive of astēr, star; see ster-3 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin asteriscus, from Ancient Greek ἀστερίσκος (asteriskos, "a little star, asterisk, used in manuscripts to mark passages"), diminutive of ἀστήρ (aster, "a star"). (Wiktionary)



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  • "McCain calls the Keating scandal 'my asterisk.' Over the years, his opponents have failed to turn it into a period. -- wtf?

    October 7, 2008

  • See this map for American pronunciation.

    And oroboros, I love your poem. :-D

    April 11, 2008

  • June 15, 2007

  • I enjoy that this word has the same root as asteroid.

    June 15, 2007

  • "A star in any language." Anne Carson

    June 14, 2007

  • At the ice-skating rink, Ms Tryst
    Demurred when asked for her wrist;
    For 'tho she was willing,
    The thought of a spilling
    Would,perhaps, put her *.

    December 13, 2006