(redirected from Asterism (disambiguation))
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


1. Printing Three asterisks in a triangular formation used to call attention to a following passage.
2. Astronomy A pattern of stars that is not one of the traditionally established, named constellations, such as the Big Dipper or the Summer Triangle. Asterisms are often named and may be composed of stars that are members of one or more constellations.
3. Mineralogy A six-rayed starlike figure optically produced in some crystal structures by reflected or transmitted light.

[Greek asterismos, constellation, from astēr, star; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

as′ter·is′mal adj.


1. (Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) three asterisks arranged in a triangle (⁂ or the same symbol but upside down), to draw attention to the text that follows
2. (Geological Science) a starlike effect seen in some minerals and gemstones when viewed by reflected or transmitted light
3. (Astronomy) a cluster of stars, which may be a subset or a superset of a constellation
[C16: from Greek asterismos arrangement of constellations, from astēr star]


(ˈæs təˌrɪz əm)

a. a group of stars.
b. a constellation.
2. a property of some crystallized minerals of showing a starlike luminous figure in transmitted light or, in a cabochon-cut stone, by reflected light.
3. three asterisks (⁂ or ⁂) printed before a passage to draw attention to it.
[1590–1600; < Greek asterismós]


Rare. a constellation or small group of unrelated stars. — asterismal, adj.
See also: Astronomy
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.asterism - (mineralogy) a star-shaped figure with six rays that is seen in some crystal structures under reflected or transmitted lightasterism - (mineralogy) a star-shaped figure with six rays that is seen in some crystal structures under reflected or transmitted light
mineralogy - the branch of geology that studies minerals: their structure and properties and the ways of distinguishing them
star - a plane figure with 5 or more points; often used as an emblem
2.asterism - (astronomy) a cluster of stars (or a small constellation)asterism - (astronomy) a cluster of stars (or a small constellation)
natural object - an object occurring naturally; not made by man
astronomy, uranology - the branch of physics that studies celestial bodies and the universe as a whole
constellation - a configuration of stars as seen from the earth