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

  • noun A star-shaped figure (*) used chiefly to indicate an omission, a reference to a footnote, or an unattested word, sound, or affix.
  • noun Mathematics A symbol used to indicate multiplication, as in 2 * 3 = 6.
  • transitive verb To mark with an asterisk.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Something in the shape of or resembling an asterisk.
  • noun 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.
  • 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.

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

  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Symbol (*).
  • noun sports, US A blemish in an otherwise outstanding achievement.
  • noun biology Alternate of Asteriscus.
  • verb To mark with an asterisk symbol (*)

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

  • verb mark with an asterisk
  • noun a star-shaped character * used in printing


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

[Middle English, from Late Latin asteriscus, from Greek asteriskos, diminutive of astēr, star; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").


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  • 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

  • "A star in any language." Anne Carson

    June 14, 2007

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

    June 15, 2007

  • See this map for American pronunciation.

    And oroboros, I love your poem. :-D

    April 11, 2008

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

    October 7, 2008