Definitions

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

  • n. A star that suddenly becomes much brighter and then gradually returns to its original brightness over a period of weeks to years.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any sudden brightening of a previously inconspicuous star.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A star which suddenly increases in brightness thousands of times, then fades back to near its original intensity. It may appear as a “new” star if its original brightness was too low for routine observation. A star which suddenly increases in brightness to many millions of times its original intensity is a supernova, and the postulated mechanisms for the increases of brightness of novae and supernovae are different.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A ‘new’ or temporary star; a star which makes its appearance suddenly and gradually fades away, the whole decline generally occupying some years and leaving the star still visible in large telescopes. About twenty such stars have thus far been recorded.

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

  • n. a star that ejects some of its material in the form of a cloud and become more luminous in the process

Etymologies

New Latin (stēlla) nova, new (star), nova, feminine of Latin novus, new; see newo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Feminine nominative singular of the Latin adjective novus (new). The feminine is used since the Latin word for star, stella is feminine; thus nova is a shortening of nova stella (new star). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "A kilonova is about 1,000 times brighter than a nova, which is caused by the eruption of a white dwarf. The self-detonation of a massive star, a supernova, can be as much as 100 times brighter than a kilonova"


    http://www.nasa.gov/press/2013/august/nasas-hubble-finds-telltale-fireball-after-gamma-ray-burst/#.Uf2tE9eYnld

    August 4, 2013

  • mr dontcry has a 1971 Nova in My Garage. He has formed a band of friends, the "Nova Knights" for "Nova Night" - each Friday night in My Garage. They are supposed to be working on rebuilding the old rustbucket -- I mean the classic car... I get the feeling that I will never be able to park My Car in My Garage... *wah*

    December 5, 2009

  • A false false friend. From Wikipedia:

    "A popular urban legend asserts that the Nova sold poorly in Latin America because the phrase no va means "doesn't go" in Spanish. In reality, if a Spanish-speaking person were to say that his car was not working, he would more likely use the terms no marcha or no funciona, ("does not run" or "does not work/function", respectively) instead, just as an English-speaking person would be more likely to say "this car doesn't work", than say "this car doesn't go." The word nova, as opposed to no va, exists in Spanish with the same meaning as in English. Also, the Spanish word for "new" (nuevo or nueva) is a cognate to nova, which originally meant "new" in Latin."

    January 11, 2008