Etymology
Advertisement

asterism (n.)

1590s, "a constellation, a group of stars," from Greek asterismos "a marking with stars," from aster "star" (from PIE root *ster- (2) "star"). Originally any grouping of stars, whether a constellation or not; in modern use usually the latter. The "Big Dipper" is an asterism; Ursa Major is the constellation which contains it. Other examples are the "Summer Triangle," "the sickle" of Leo, "the teapot" of Sagittarius.

updated on April 24, 2017

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of asterism from WordNet

asterism (n.)
(mineralogy) a star-shaped figure with six rays that is seen in some crystal structures under reflected or transmitted light;
asterism (n.)
(astronomy) a cluster of stars (or a small constellation);
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.