from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Milit, a thin iron shell for light muzzle-loading guns, filled with stars, and fired to light up an enemy's position at night.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • He raised a flare pistol and fired a single star-shell round that burst directly over one of the shops.

    The Cardinal of the Kremlin Clancy, Tom, 1947- 1988

  • Anne Abbott was one of those exceedingly rare plain girls whose smiles completely transform them, as abruptly as the bursting of a star-shell.

    Cities In Flight Blish, James 1957

  • Lights flashed here and there, a mass of figures detached themselves from the gloom, and in the light of a star-shell Frank saw a detachment of American troops coming on the run!

    Army Boys on the Firing Line or, Holding Back the German Drive Homer Randall

  • Behind him a star-shell shot up, followed by another and another, together with strings of "blazing onions," until the broken field over which he was making his way became almost as bright as day.

    Army Boys on the Firing Line or, Holding Back the German Drive Homer Randall

  • Seven yards per minute is a snail's pace, but pretty good time in No Man's Land, where you must remain motionless each time a star-shell lights up the darkness around you and makes your discovery possible.

    The Fight for the Argonne Personal Experiences of a 'Y' Man William Benjamin West

  • Or a flare from a star-shell might reveal him crouching beside his prisoner.

    Army Boys on the Firing Line or, Holding Back the German Drive Homer Randall

  • At intervals over a little knoll in the direction of the trenches, a white star-shell falls slowly, making the trees and the guns among their tangle of hiding branches cast long green-black shadows, drowning the wood in a strange glare of desolation.

    One Man's Initiation—1917 John Dos Passos 1933

  • Or he would hurl the bomb high into the air, so that it burst above the enemy like a rocket or a star-shell.

    Tell England A Study in a Generation Ernest Raymond 1931

  • Bursting star-shell and questioning searchlight fought with the darkness, betraying to the guns the sinister black hulls driving through clouds of silver spray, the loaded tubes and streaming decks, the oilskin-clad figures on each bridge forcing the attack home against the devastating blast of the shrapnel.

    The Long Trick 1886-1967 Bartimeus 1926

  • The light of the star-shell waned and died away; the Corporal spoke to

    The Red Horizon Patrick MacGill 1926


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