[ as-tuh-risk ]
/ ˈæs tə rɪsk /


verb (used with object)

to mark with an asterisk.


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Origin of asterisk

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin asteriscus < Greek asterískos, diminutive of astḗr star

pronunciation note for asterisk

While asterisk is usually said as [as-tuh-risk] /ˈæs tə rɪsk/, with the [s] /s/ in the final syllable preceding the [k] /k/, a metathesized pronunciation is also heard, in which the [s] /s/ and [k] /k/ change places producing [as-tuh-riks] /ˈæs tə rɪks/. This pronunciation, resulting in part from analogy with plural forms like kicks and sticks, can sometimes lead to a false analysis of [as-tuh-riks] /ˈæs tə rɪks/ as a plural pronunciation, with a corresponding singular [as-tuh-rik] /ˈæs tə rɪk/. The metathesized pronunciation, although occasionally heard among educated speakers, is usually considered nonstandard, as is the pronunciation of the singular form with no [s] /s/ in the final syllable. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for asterisk

British Dictionary definitions for asterisk

/ (ˈæstərɪsk) /


a star-shaped character (*) used in printing or writing to indicate a cross-reference to a footnote, an omission, etc
  1. (in historical linguistics) this sign used to indicate an unattested reconstructed form
  2. (in descriptive linguistics) this sign used to indicate that an expression is ungrammatical or in some other way unacceptable


(tr) to mark with an asterisk

Word Origin for asterisk

C17: from Late Latin asteriscus a small star, from Greek asteriskos, from astēr star
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012