See also: constellâtion

English edit

Etymology edit

PIE word
*ḱóm
A photograph of the constellation Orion (left) with an illustration of how the constellation is supposed to represent the hunter Orion in Greek mythology.

From Middle English constellacioun, constillacioun ((astrology) position of the moon or a planet in relation to the ascendant sign of the zodiac; horoscope; (astronomy) formation of fixed stars, constellation; (astronomy) elevation or position of the sun) [and other forms],[1] borrowed from Old French constellation (modern French constellation), or directly from its etymon Late Latin cōnstēllātiōnem,[2] the accusative singular of cōnstēllātiō (collection of stars supposed to exert an influence upon human affairs, constellation), from Latin con- (prefix denoting a bringing together of several objects) + stēlla (star; meteor; planet) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂stḗr (star)) + -ātiō (suffix forming nouns).

Pronunciation edit

  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: kŏnstəlā'shn', IPA(key): /ˌkɒn.stəˈleɪ.ʃən/, [ˌkɒn.stəˈleɪ.ʃn̩]
    • (file)
  • (General American) enPR: kän'stəlā'shən, IPA(key): /ˌkɑn.stəˈleɪ.ʃən/, [ˌkɑn.stəˈleɪ.ʃn̩]
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən
  • Hyphenation: con‧stel‧la‧tion

Noun edit

constellation (plural constellations)

  1. (astronomy) An arbitrary formation of stars perceived as a figure (especially one from mythology) or pattern, or a division of the sky including it, especially one officially recognized by astronomers; an asterism.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Isaiah 13:9–10, column 2:
      Behold, the day of the Lord commeth, cruell both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land deſolate; and he ſhall deſtroy the ſinners thereof out of it. For the ſtarres of heauen, and the conſtellations thereof ſhall not giue their light: the ſunne ſhalbe darkened in his going forth, and the moone ſhall not cauſe her light to ſhine.
    • a. 1631 (date written), J[ohn] Donne, “An Epithalamion, or Mariage Song on the Lady Elizabeth, and Count Palatine being Married on St. Valentines Day”, in Poems, [] with Elegies on the Authors Death, London: [] M[iles] F[lesher] for Iohn Marriot, [], published 1633, →OCLC, stanza III, page 119:
      Up, up, faire Bride, and call, / Thy ſtarres, from out their ſeverall boxes, take / Thy Rubies, Pearles, and Diamonds forth, and make / Thy ſelfe a conſtellation, of them All.
      A figurative use.
    • 1675, Marcus Manilius, translated by Edward Sherburne, The Sphere of Marcus Manilius Made an English Poem: [], London: [] Nathanael Brooke, [], →OCLC, page 25:
      Next the cold Bears, (the Cauſe t' himſelf beſt knovvn) / Shines forth a kneeling Conſtellation. / Behind vvhoſe Back Arctophylax appears, / The ſame Boötes call'd, becauſe yoak'd Steers / He ſeeming drives; vvho through the rapid Skies / (Bearing Arcturus in his Boſome) hies.
    • 1824, “Illustrations of the Tenth Plate. Taurus.—Orion.—Gemini.—Canis Minor.—Harpa Georgii.”, in Astronomical Recreations; or Sketches of the Relative Position and Mythological History of the Constellations, Philadelphia, Pa.: Anthony Finley, [], →OCLC, page 73:
      Harpa Georgii, or the Harp of George, is a new constellation introduced on the maps by one of the German astronomers, in honour of the late king of England, George III.
    • 1837 August 31, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar. An Oration Delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Cambridge, August 31, 1837.”, in J[ames] E[lliot] Cabot, editor, Nature, Addresses, and Lectures (Emerson’s Complete Works; I), Riverside edition, London: The Waverley Book Company, published 1883, →OCLC, page 84:
      Who can doubt that poetry will revive and lead in a new age, as the star in the constellation Harp, which now flames in our zenith, astronomers announce, shall one day be the pole-star for a thousand years?
    • 2005 June 9, Francis Reddy, “Spitzer Finds Supernova’s Echo”, in Astronomy[1], Waukesha, Wis.: Kalmbach Publishing Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-04-06, image caption:
      Located 11,000 light-years away in the northern constellation Cassiopeia, Cas A is the remnant of a once massive star that died in a violent explosion 325 years ago.
    • 2019 February 21, Rick Barrett, “Dairy farmers are in crisis—and it could change Wisconsin forever”, in USA Today[2], McLean, Va.: Gannett Co., →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-04-10:
      There was a time when the soft glow of barn lights dotted Wisconsin’s rural landscape like stars in a constellation, connecting families who labored into the night milking cows, feeding calves and finishing chores.
    1. (modern astronomy) Any of the 88 regions of the sky officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union, including all stars and celestial bodies in the region. [from 1920s]
  2. (figurative) A configuration or grouping of related things.
    • 2010, Jason B. Ohler, “Becoming Digital: The Road to Digital Citizenship”, in Digital Community, Digital Citizen, Thousand Oaks, Calif., London: Corwin, SAGE, →ISBN, part I (The Call to Digital Citizenship), page 15:
      [T]he program AppleWorks for the Apple IIe was released circa 1984. It combined a spreadsheet, database, and word processing program into one easy-to-use, low-cost integrated software package. This software constellation persists today as Microsoft Office, the most popular software tool set in history.
    1. A wide, seemingly unlimited, assortment.
      a constellation of possibilities
      • 1665, Robert Boyle, “Occasional Reflections. Reflection VIII. Upon a Child that Cri’d for the Stars.”, in [John Weyland], editor, Occasional Reflections upon Several Subjects. With a Discourse about Such Kind of Thoughts, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Alex[ander] Ambrose Masson; and sold by John Henry Parker, [], published 1848, →OCLC, section V, page 326:
        These amorous Persons may be, I grant, very much delighted when they first gaze upon a Constellation of fair Ladies, but the Heart commonly pays dear for the Pleasure of the Eye, []
      • 2006 September, Edwin Black, “Power Struggle”, in Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives, New York, N.Y.: St. Martin’s Press, →ISBN, page 17:
        Throughout the 1500s, the populace roiled over a constellation of grievances of which the forest emerged as a key focal point. The popular late Middle Ages fictional character Robin Hood, dressed in green to symbolize the forest, dodged fines for forest offenses and stole from the rich to give to the poor. But his appeal was painfully real and embodied the struggle over wood.
    2. (psychoanalysis) Synonym of complex (a collection of ideas caused by repressed emotions that leads to an abnormal mental condition)
    3. (sexuality) A network of connections between people who are in polyamorous relationships, for example between a person, their partner, and that person's partner.
    4. (space science) A fleet of satellites used for the same purpose.
      The Iridium satellite constellation provides data and voice information coverage to satellite phones and other communication devices over the entire surface of Earth.
  3. (astrology, obsolete)
    1. The configuration of planets at a given time (especially a person's birth), as believed to affect events on Earth, or used for determining a horoscope.
      • 1531, Thomas Elyot, “The Diuision of Ingratitude and the Dispraise therof”, in Ernest Rhys, editor, The Boke Named the Governour [] (Everyman’s Library), London: J[oseph] M[alaby] Dent & Co; New York, N.Y.: E[dward] P[ayson] Dutton & Co, published [1907], →OCLC, 2nd book, pages 188–189:
        But alas such peruerse constellation nowe reigneth ouer men, that where some be aptely and naturally disposed to amitie, and fyndeth one, in similitude of studie and maners, equall to his expectation, and therfore kendeleth a feruent loue towarde that persone, puttinge all his ioye and delite in the praise and auauncement of him that he loueth, it hapneth that he which is loued, beinge promoted in honour, either of purpose neglecteth his frende, therby suppressynge libertie of speche or familiar resorte; or els esteming his mynde with his fortune onely, and nat with the suertie of frendship, hideth from him the secretes of his harte, and either trusteth no man, or els him whome prosperous fortune hath late brought in acquaintaunce.
      • 1862 July – 1863 August, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], “First Impressions”, in Romola. [], volume I, London: Smith, Elder and Co., [], published 1863, →OCLC, book I, page 72:
        [H]e was born under the constellation that gives a man skill, riches, and integrity, whatever that constellation may be, which is of the less consequence because babies can't choose their own horoscopes, and, indeed, if they could, there might be an inconvenient rush of babies at particular epochs.
    2. A person's character or inclinations, supposedly determined by their horoscope.

Hyponyms edit

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ constellāciǒun, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ constellation, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2023; “constellation, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading edit

French edit

Etymology edit

PIE word
*ḱóm

From Middle French constellation, from Old French constellation, borrowed from Late Latin cōnstēllātiōnem.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /kɔ̃s.tɛ.la.sjɔ̃/, /kɔ̃s.te.la.sjɔ̃/
  • (file)

Noun edit

constellation f (plural constellations)

  1. constellation (all senses)

Related terms edit

Further reading edit