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  1. (alchemy) The symbol for sal ammoniac.
  2. (astronomy) A star.
  3. (algebra) Complex or transpose conjugate; conjugate.
  4. (linear algebra, functional analysis) Dual space.
  5. (algebra, computer science) Free monoid or Kleene star.
    In the language defined by AB*A, each string starts with an A, ends with a distinct A, and between them has zero or more Bs.
  6. (computing) Used in various computing contexts as a multiplication symbol.
  7. (regular expressions) Detects zero or more occurences of the preceding element.
    The string ab*c matches "ac", "abc", "abbc", "abbbc", and so on.


For usage examples of this term, see Citations:*.


  • (multiplication symbol): ×, x, ·

Derived termsEdit

  • * * (encloses text for emphasis)
  • (astronomy): V*, Cl*
  • (multiplication symbol): **

Punctuation markEdit


  1. Used at the beginning of a footnote, especially if it is the only one on the page, and after a word, phrase, or sentence that this footnote relates to.
  2. (historical linguistics) Used before or after a term to denote that it is only hypothesized and not actually attested, conveying several distinct notions:
    1. (when used before a term) That the term is reconstructed on the basis of comparative method by linguists, as the plausible ancestor form of existing, attested term in one or more languages, or by comparing other reconstructed terms.
      It is posited that Proto-Indo-European *sneygʷʰos is the etymon of both Latin nix and English snow.
    2. (when used after a term) That the term is actually attested, but not in its citation form that is being mentioned.
      PIE *ḱonk- yielded Vedic śaṅk-ate "worries, hesitates", as well as pre-Germanic *kank-, whence also Gothic hāhan* "to hang".
    3. (when used before a term) That the term is reconstructed by linguists as the etymon of some of the attested words, but in a more uncertain, speculative way, usually hypothesizing not on the basis of regular sound correspondences of the comparative method, but on the basis of some far-fetched prehistoric relationship that cannot be neither proved nor disproved, or otherwise scientifically falsified.
      His theory of the Proto-Slavic *kъniga being ultimately derived from Chinese, via the middle form *kūinig, reflecting ancient routes of cultural influx from the East, has not gained a firm ground in the Slavicist circles in the last century.
    4. (when used before a symbol representing a phoneme) That the specified phoneme is reconstructed on the basis of comparative method.
      Proto-Germanic had three unvoiced fricatives: */f/, */þ/, and */h/.
    5. (when used before a symbol representing a sound value) That the specified sound value is being guessed.
      Proto-Germanic had three unvoiced fricatives, possibly representing *[ɸ], *[θ], and *[x].
  3. (descriptive linguistics) Used before a term (word, or a sentence or phrase) to show that it is grammatically incorrect, or in some other way ill-formed.
    English prepositions come before the associated noun: we say She lives in Rome, not *She lives Rome in.
    Roots like **bep- were not allowed in Proto-Indo-European.
  4. Indicates a cross-reference to another entry in a dictionary or other similar work.
    • 2014, The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar[1], 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199658237, page 25:
      analysis The process of breaking up *words, *phrases, *clauses, *sentences, *constructions, etc. into their *constituent parts.
  5. (genealogy) Used to denote a date of birth
  6. (Internet slang) Used before or after a word to show a correction has been made, chiefly by the same participant.
    I'm our of time. / *out
  7. (Internet) Indicates a field of a form that should be filled out obligatorily.
  8. (cricket) Marks a score or statistic that is incomplete; for example the score of a batsman who is (or was) not out.
  9. (computing) Used as a wildcard to denote zero or more characters.
  10. Used to censor sections of profane or obscene words.
    F**k You!
  11. Used in * *.

Usage notesEdit

The English names are asterisk and star.


For usage examples of this term, see Citations:*.


  • (wildcard): %
  • (genealogy): °
  • (censor): ,
  • (mathematics): × / ·


  • (genealogy): / / + (French)
  • (mathematics): [[:]] / / / ÷

Coordinate termsEdit

  • (beginning a footnote): , , **, [numbers]
  • (multiplication symbol): +, -, /, %, ^, **
  • (grammatically incorrect): ?
  • (genealogy): / , , (German)
  • (wildcard): ?




  1. (text messaging) star
    ur a *! — You're a star!
  2. (text messaging) Replacing the sounding /-ɑː(r)/ (star) on any word that has this pronunciation or similar.
    e.g. *t (start), *fish (starfish), *g8 (stargate)