Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A star, such as Polaris, that is used as a point of navigational reference.
  • noun A principle, interest, or person that serves as a guide.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Same as loadstar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English lodesterre : lode, way; see lode + sterre, star; see star.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

Comments

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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

  • There is a nice discussion of the origins of this word on Languagehat's website: http://languagehat.com/lodestar/#comments. The related word "lodestone" also came up.

    July 1, 2015

  • As compasses tell us direction

    So Donald consults his erection,

    And where it is pointed

    A new love’s anointed.

    His lodestar is lust, not affection.

    February 19, 2018

  • Word of the day, definitely.

    September 6, 2018