Meaning of STAR in English

I. star 1 S2 W2 /stɑː $ stɑːr/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: steorra ]

1 . IN THE SKY a large ball of burning gas in space that can be seen at night as a point of light in the sky ⇨ constellation , galaxy , supernova :

I lay on my back and looked up at the stars.

The sky was filled with stars.

The stars were shining.

The stars were all out (=they were shining) .

The stars were twinkling overhead (=shining and quickly changing from bright to faint) .

under the stars (=outdoors at night)

sitting around a campfire under the stars

⇨ ↑ falling star , ↑ morning star , ↑ shooting star

2 . FAMOUS PERFORMER/PLAYER a famous and successful actor, musician, or sports player:

By the age of 20, she was already a big star (=a very famous and successful performer) .

a pop/movie/TV/football etc star

He is a rising star (=someone who is becoming famous and successful) in the music world.

She’s a good actress but she lacks star quality (=a special quality that could make someone a star) .

3 . MAIN PERSON IN A FILM/PLAY ETC the person who has the main part, or one of them, in a film, play, show etc

star of

Ray Grimes, the star of the television series ‘Brother John’


a) the person who gives the best performance in a film, play, show etc:

Laporte, as Ebenezer Scrooge, is undoubtedly the star of the show.

Shamu, the killer whale, is the show’s star attraction (=best and most popular person or thing) .

b) the best or most successful person in a group of players, workers, students etc

star player/performer/salesman etc

the team’s star player

the school’s star pupil

the star columnist of ‘The Sunday Times’


a) a shape with four or more points, which represents the way a star looks in the sky

b) a mark in the shape of a star, used to draw attention to something written SYN asterisk :

I put a star next to the items that we still need to buy.

c) a piece of cloth or metal in the shape of a star, worn to show someone’s rank or position – used especially on military uniforms:

a four-star general

6 . HOTELS/RESTAURANTS a mark used in a system for judging the quality of hotels and restaurants

three-star/four-star/five-star etc

a two-star hotel

7 . the stars British English informal a description, usually printed in newspapers and magazines, of what will happen to you in the future, based on the position of the stars and ↑ planet s at the time of your birth SYN horoscope

sb’s stars

I never read my stars.

⇨ ↑ star sign

8 . something is written in the stars used to say that what happens to a person is controlled by ↑ fate (=a power that is believed to influence what happens in people’s lives) :

Their marriage was surely written in the stars.

9 . see stars to see flashes of light, especially because you have been hit on the head:

I felt a little dizzy and could see stars.

10 . have stars in your eyes to imagine that something you want to do is much more exciting or attractive than it really is ⇨ ↑ starry-eyed

11 . you’re a star!/what a star! British English spoken said when you are very grateful or pleased because of what someone has done:

Thanks, Mel. You’re a real star!

⇨ guiding star at ↑ guiding (2), ⇨ born under a lucky/unlucky star at ↑ born 2 (7), ⇨ reach for the stars at ↑ reach 1 (11), ⇨ thank your lucky stars at ↑ thank (3)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ a star shines

I looked up and saw hundreds of stars shining in the sky.

▪ a star twinkles (=shines with an unsteady light)

Stars began to twinkle in the darkening night sky.

▪ stars appear/come out (=appear in the sky)

We arrived home just as the stars were coming out.

▪ the stars are out (=they are shining)

There was a full moon, and the stars were out.

▪ look up at the stars

I had spent a lot of time looking up at the stars as a kid.

▪ sleep under the stars (=in a place with no roof)

In the desert, they slept out under the stars.

■ adjectives

▪ bright

the brightest star in the night sky

▪ faint

The star is faint but visible.

▪ a distant star (=very far away)

He stared up towards the distant stars.

■ phrases

▪ a cluster of stars (=a small group of stars close together in the sky)

He fixed his telescope on a tiny little cluster of stars in the constellation of Taurus.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)


▪ a big star (=a very famous and successful star)

He has worked with some of the world’s biggest stars.

▪ a movie/Hollywood star ( also a film star especially British English )

He looked like a movie star.

▪ a pop/rock star

Who’s your favourite pop star?

▪ a TV star

Most TV stars do quite a lot of charity work.

▪ a soap star (=a star in a television soap opera)

She was known as a soap star before she took up singing.

▪ a sports/football/basketball etc star

Sam was a football star in college.

▪ an international star (=a star who is famous in many countries)

His performance in 'The Titanic' made him an international star.

▪ a rising star (=someone who is becoming famous and successful)

She is very much the rising star of Black American fiction.

▪ a child star (=a child who is a famous performer)

The production team say they have been careful to look after all their child stars.

■ star + NOUN

▪ star quality (=a special quality that could make someone a star)

She radiates genuine star quality.

▪ star treatment (=special treatment that a star gets)

Winners get star treatment from the media.

▪ a star vehicle (=a film or television programme that is intended to show the abilities of one particular star)

He denied that the movie was just a star vehicle for Tom Hanks.

■ phrases

▪ a star of stage and screen (=a star who has been in plays and films)

Now this much-loved star of stage and screen has been made a Dame.

• • •

THESAURUS (for Meaning 1)

■ in the sky

▪ star a large ball of burning gas in space, which can be seen at night as a point of light in the sky:

The dark night sky was clear and full of stars.

▪ planet one of the large objects that goes around the sun, for example the Earth, Saturn, Mercury, or Mars:

The planet Uranus was discovered in 1781.

▪ sun the star that gives us light and heat, around which the planets move. There are also many millions of other suns in the universe:

The sun came out from behind a cloud.


a dying sun

▪ moon the round object that moves around the Earth every 28 days, or a similar object that goes around another planet:

The moon rose in the night sky.


Titan is one of the moons of Saturn.

▪ asteroid a mass of rock that moves around the sun. Most asteroids are found between Jupiter and Mars:

the asteroid belt

▪ pulsar a type of star that is far away in space and produces ↑ radiation and RADIO WAVES

▪ quasar an object like a star that is far away in space and shines extremely brightly

▪ supernova a very large exploding star

▪ constellation a group of stars that forms a particular pattern and has a name:

The constellation of Orion is one of the most easily recognizable patterns of stars in the night sky.

▪ galaxy one of the large groups of stars that make up the universe:

Astronomers have detected a galaxy 11 billion light years away.

▪ the universe all space, including all the stars and planets:

How many planets in the universe have life?

• • •

THESAURUS (for Meaning 2)

■ a famous person

▪ star a famous and successful actor, musician, or sports person:

She dreamed of becoming a movie star.


a talent show to find the stars of the future

▪ celebrity someone who often appears in newspapers, on television etc and is well-known to the public. Celebrities are often famous for being famous, not because they have any great ↑ talent :

The magazine is full of gossip about celebrities.

▪ name a famous person whose name is known by many people – used especially in the following expressions:

All the big names in football were at the awards dinner.


Giorgio Armani is one of the most famous names in fashion.


He is yet to become a household name (=someone who everyone has heard of) .

▪ personality an entertainer or sports player who is famous and often appears in the newspapers, on television etc. – used especially in the following phrases:

Many advertisers use TV personalities to promote their products.


He was chosen as sports personality of the year.

■ a very famous person

▪ superstar an extremely famous performer, especially a musician or film actor:

The film made Tom Cruise an international superstar.

▪ legend someone who is famous and admired for being extremely good at doing something – used especially about people who are at the end of a long career or who have died:

blues legend John Lee Hooker


Jane Fonda is the daughter of film legend Henry Fonda.

▪ great [usually plural] someone who was one of the best players or performers that there have ever been:

He was one of the all-time soccer greats.

II. star 2 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle starred , present participle starring )

1 . [intransitive] if someone stars in a film, television show etc, they are one of the main characters in it

star in

Eastwood starred in ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’.

star with/opposite

DeVito stars opposite Dreyfuss in the movie.

star as

Hugh Grant stars as the romantic hero.

‘The Freshman’ was Brando’s first starring role (=the most important part in a film) in ten years.

2 . [transitive] if a film, television show, or play stars someone, that person is one of the main characters in it SYN feature :

a film starring Meryl Streep

star somebody as ...

The movie starred Orson Welles as Harry Lime.

3 . [transitive usually passive] to put an ↑ asterisk (=a star-shaped mark) next to something written:

The starred items are available.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.