Variable star
Star Star (st[aum]r), n. [OE. sterre, AS. steorra; akin to OFries. stera, OS. sterro, D. ster, OHG. sterno, sterro, G. stern, Icel. stjarna, Sw. stjerna, Dan. stierne, Goth. sta['i]rn[=o], Armor. & Corn. steren, L. stella, Gr. 'asth`r, 'a`stron, Skr. star; perhaps from a root meaning, to scatter, Skr. st[.r], L. sternere (cf. {Stratum}), and originally applied to the stars as being strewn over the sky, or as being scatterers or spreaders of light. [root]296. Cf. {Aster}, {Asteroid}, {Constellation}, {Disaster}, {Stellar}.] 1. One of the innumerable luminous bodies seen in the heavens; any heavenly body other than the sun, moon, comets, and nebul[ae]. [1913 Webster]

His eyen twinkled in his head aright, As do the stars in the frosty night. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Note: The stars are distinguished as {planets}, and {fixed stars}. See {Planet}, {Fixed stars} under {Fixed}, and {Magnitude of a star} under {Magnitude}. [1913 Webster]

2. The polestar; the north star. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. (Astrol.) A planet supposed to influence one's destiny; (usually pl.) a configuration of the planets, supposed to influence fortune. [1913 Webster]

O malignant and ill-brooding stars. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Blesses his stars, and thinks it luxury. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

4. That which resembles the figure of a star, as an ornament worn on the breast to indicate rank or honor. [1913 Webster]

On whom . . . Lavish Honor showered all her stars. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]

5. Specifically, a radiated mark in writing or printing; an asterisk [thus, *]; -- used as a reference to a note, or to fill a blank where something is omitted, etc. [1913 Webster]

6. (Pyrotechny) A composition of combustible matter used in the heading of rockets, in mines, etc., which, exploding in the air, presents a starlike appearance. [1913 Webster]

7. A person of brilliant and attractive qualities, especially on public occasions, as a distinguished orator, a leading theatrical performer, etc. [1913 Webster]

Note: Star is used in the formation of compound words generally of obvious signification; as, star-aspiring, star-bespangled, star-bestudded, star-blasting, star-bright, star-crowned, star-directed, star-eyed, star-headed, star-paved, star-roofed, star-sprinkled, star-wreathed. [1913 Webster]

{Blazing star}, {Double star}, {Multiple star}, {Shooting star}, etc. See under {Blazing}, {Double}, etc.

{Nebulous star} (Astron.), a small well-defined circular nebula, having a bright nucleus at its center like a star.

{Star anise} (Bot.), any plant of the genus Illicium; -- so called from its star-shaped capsules.

{Star apple} (Bot.), a tropical American tree ({Chrysophyllum Cainito}), having a milky juice and oblong leaves with a silky-golden pubescence beneath. It bears an applelike fruit, the carpels of which present a starlike figure when cut across. The name is extended to the whole genus of about sixty species, and the natural order ({Sapotace[ae]}) to which it belongs is called the Star-apple family.

{Star conner}, one who cons, or studies, the stars; an astronomer or an astrologer. --Gascoigne.

{Star coral} (Zo["o]l.), any one of numerous species of stony corals belonging to {Astr[ae]a}, {Orbicella}, and allied genera, in which the calicles are round or polygonal and contain conspicuous radiating septa.

{Star cucumber}. (Bot.) See under {Cucumber}.

{Star flower}. (Bot.) (a) A plant of the genus {Ornithogalum}; star-of-Bethlehem. (b) See {Starwort} (b) . (c) An American plant of the genus {Trientalis} ({Trientalis Americana}). --Gray.

{Star fort} (Fort.), a fort surrounded on the exterior with projecting angles; -- whence the name.

{Star gauge} (Ordnance), a long rod, with adjustable points projecting radially at its end, for measuring the size of different parts of the bore of a gun.

{Star grass}. (Bot.) (a) A small grasslike plant ({Hypoxis erecta}) having star-shaped yellow flowers. (b) The colicroot. See {Colicroot}.

{Star hyacinth} (Bot.), a bulbous plant of the genus {Scilla} ({S. autumnalis}); -- called also {star-headed hyacinth}.

{Star jelly} (Bot.), any one of several gelatinous plants ({Nostoc commune}, {N. edule}, etc.). See {Nostoc}.

{Star lizard}. (Zo["o]l.) Same as {Stellion}.

{Star-of-Bethlehem} (Bot.), a bulbous liliaceous plant ({Ornithogalum umbellatum}) having a small white starlike flower.

{Star-of-the-earth} (Bot.), a plant of the genus {P} ({Plantago coronopus}), growing upon the seashore.

{Star polygon} (Geom.), a polygon whose sides cut each other so as to form a star-shaped figure.

{Stars and Stripes}, a popular name for the flag of the United States, which consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, alternately red and white, and a union having, in a blue field, white stars to represent the several States, one for each.

With the old flag, the true American flag, the Eagle, and the Stars and Stripes, waving over the chamber in which we sit. --D. Webster.

{Star showers}. See {Shooting star}, under {Shooting}.

{Star thistle} (Bot.), an annual composite plant ({Centaurea solstitialis}) having the involucre armed with stout radiating spines.

{Star wheel} (Mach.), a star-shaped disk, used as a kind of ratchet wheel, in repeating watches and the feed motions of some machines.

{Star worm} (Zo["o]l.), a gephyrean.

{Temporary star} (Astron.), a star which appears suddenly, shines for a period, and then nearly or quite disappears. These stars were supposed by some astronomers to be variable stars of long and undetermined periods. More recently, variations star in start intensity are classified more specifically, and this term is now obsolescent. See also {nova}. [Obsolescent]

{Variable star} (Astron.), a star whose brilliancy varies periodically, generally with regularity, but sometimes irregularly; -- called {periodical star} when its changes occur at fixed periods.

{Water star grass} (Bot.), an aquatic plant ({Schollera graminea}) with small yellow starlike blossoms. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • variable star — noun a star that varies noticeably in brightness • Syn: ↑variable • Hypernyms: ↑star • Instance Hyponyms: ↑Polaris, ↑North Star, ↑pole star, ↑polar star, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • variable star — noun Any star whose brightness varies. Syn: variable …   Wiktionary

  • variable star — var′iable star′ n. astron. a star that varies in brightness often in a regular period • Etymology: 1780–90 …   From formal English to slang

  • variable star — noun Date: 1788 a star whose brightness changes usually in more or less regular periods …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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