[ as-truh-nawt, -not ]
/ ˈæs trəˌnɔt, -ˌnɒt /


a person engaged in or trained for spaceflight.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for astronaut

British Dictionary definitions for astronaut


/ (ˈæstrəˌnɔːt) /


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

Culture definitions for astronaut


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.