use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

star (stär)
Share:
n.
1.
a. A celestial body that generates light and other radiant energy and consists of a mass of gas held together by its own gravity in which the energy generated by nuclear reactions in the interior is balanced by the outflow of energy to the surface, and the inward-directed gravitational forces are balanced by the outward-directed gas and radiation pressures.
b. Any of the celestial bodies visible at night from Earth as relatively stationary, usually twinkling points of light.
c. Something regarded as resembling such a celestial body.
2. A graphic design having five or more radiating points, often used as a symbol of rank or merit.
3.
a. An artistic performer or athlete whose leading role or superior performance is acknowledged.
b. One who is highly celebrated in a field or profession.
4.
a. An asterisk (*).
b. The star key on a telephone: For customer service, press star.
5. A white spot on the forehead of a horse.
6. A planet or constellation of the zodiac believed in astrology to influence personal destiny.
7. stars The future; destiny. Often used with the.
adj.
1. Outstanding or famous, especially in performing something: a star researcher; a star figure skater.
2. Of or relating to a star or stars.
v. starred, star·ring, stars
v.tr.
1.
a. To ornament with stars.
b. To award or mark with a star for excellence.
2. To mark with an asterisk.
3. To present or feature (a performer) in a leading role.
v.intr.
1. To play the leading role in a theatrical or film production.
2. To do an outstanding job; perform excellently.
Idioms:
have stars in (one's) eyes
To be dazzled or enraptured, as with romantic love.
see stars
To experience bright, flashing sensations, as from a blow to the head.

[Middle English sterre, from Old English steorra; see ster-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.