WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
as•ter•isk /ˈæstərɪsk/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. a symbol (*), used as a reference mark or to indicate omission, doubtful matter, etc.
See -astro-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
as•ter•isk  (astə risk),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. a small starlike symbol (*), used in writing and printing as a reference mark or to indicate omission, doubtful matter, etc.
  2. Linguisticsthe figure of a star (*) used to mark utterance that would be considered ungrammatical or otherwise unacceptable by native speakers of a language, as in* I enjoy to ski.
  3. LinguisticsHistorical Ling. the figure of a star (*) used to mark a hypothetical or reconstructed form that is not attested in a text or inscription.
  4. something in the shape of a star or asterisk.

  1. to mark with an asterisk.
  • Greek asterískos, diminutive of asté̄r star
  • Latin asteriscus
  • 1350–1400; Middle English
    While asterisk is usually said as (astə risk),USA pronunciation with the final syllable preceding the (k),USA pronunciation a metathesized pronunciation is also heard, in which the (s)USA pronunciation and (k)USA pronunciation change places producing (astə riks).USA pronunciation This pronunciation, resulting in part from analogy with plural forms like kicks and sticks, can sometimes lead to a false analysis of (astə riks)USA pronunciation as a plural pronunciation, with a corresponding singular (astə rik).USA pronunciation The metathesized pronunciation, although occasionally heard among educated speakers, is usually considered nonstandard, as is the pronunciation with no (s)USA pronunciation in the final syllable.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

asterisk /ˈæstərɪsk/ n
  1. a star-shaped character (*) used in printing or writing to indicate a cross-reference to a footnote, an omission, etc
  1. (transitive) to mark with an asterisk
Etymology: 17th Century: from Late Latin asteriscus a small star, from Greek asteriskos, from astēr star

'asterisk' also found in these entries:

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