[as-truh-nawt, -not]
See more synonyms for astronaut on

Origin of astronaut

1925–30; astro- + (aero)naut, probably via French astronaute; see astronautical
Can be confusedastronaut cosmonaut Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for astronaut

pilot, cosmonaut, rocketeer

Examples from the Web for astronaut

Contemporary Examples of astronaut

Historical Examples of astronaut

  • Of course, ground control was to be used only if the astronaut failed to ignite the retro-rockets himself.

  • The astronaut fell victim to a psychological stress that was unforeseen.

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

British Dictionary definitions for astronaut


  1. a person trained for travelling in spaceSee also cosmonaut

Word Origin for astronaut

C20: from astro- + -naut from Greek nautēs sailor, on the model of aeronaut
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

Word Origin and History for astronaut

coined 1929 in science fiction, popularized from 1961 by U.S. space program, from astro- + nautes "sailor" (see naval). French astronautique (adj.) had been coined 1927 by "J.H. Rosny," pen name of Belgian-born science fiction writer Joseph Henri Honoré Boex (1856-1940) on model of aéronautique, and Astronaut was used in 1880 as the name of a fictional spaceship by English writer Percy Greg (1836-1889) in "Across the Zodiac."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

astronaut in Culture


A crew member of a space mission launched by the United States. (See Apollo program and Mercury program.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.