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November 14, 2017

Word of the Day: Stellar

1 CQ

Word of the Day : November 14, 2017

stellar \STEL-er\ adjective

Definition

1 a : of or relating to the stars : astral

b : composed of stars

2 : of or relating to a theatrical or film star

3 a : principal, leading

b : outstanding

Did You Know?

Stella, the Latin word for "star," shines brightly in the word constellation, but stella words have been favored by scientists to describe earthly things as much as heavenly bodies. Stellar was once used to mean "star-shaped." That use is no longer current, but today biologists and geologists might use one of these synonyms: stellular, stellate, and stelliform. Poets, too, have looked to stella. John Milton used stellar in its infancy when he wrote in Paradise Lost "these soft fires … shed down their stellar virtue." Stellar shot into its leading role as a synonym of star (as when we say "stellar pupil") in the late 1800s.

Examples

Kelly's stellar academic record should help her gain acceptance to almost any college she wants to attend.

"The carbon-rich asteroid is like a time capsule from more than 4.5 billion years ago when the solar system formed. Scientists hope that the samples that Osiris-Rex collects and brings to Earth in 2023 will contain clues from the earliest history of our stellar neighborhood." — Nicholas St. Fleur, The New York Times, 28 Sept. 2017

Aired November 14, 2017

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