• synonyms


[sahy-nuh-shoo r, sin-uh-]
See more synonyms for cynosure on Thesaurus.com
  1. something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.: the cynosure of all eyes.
  2. something serving for guidance or direction.
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Origin of cynosure

1590–1600; < Latin Cynosūra < Greek Kynósoura the constellation Ursa Minor, equivalent to kynós dog's (genitive of kýōn) + ourá tail
Related formscy·no·sur·al, adjective
Can be confusedcynosure sinecure
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for cynosure

Historical Examples

  • He was like one transformed, the cynosure of all initiated in the mysteries of this divinity.

    The Symposium


  • He was the cynosure of all eyes then, and observed of all observers.

    The Making Of A Novelist

    David Christie Murray

  • To use a poetical phrase, Marengo now became the “cynosure of every eye.”

  • Or, if he swaggered as he walked, the cynosure of all eyes, from the pavilion to the pitch.

    The Hill

    Horace Annesley Vachell

  • We were soon under the observation of the company, and became the cynosure of a circle.

    The War Trail

    Mayne Reid

British Dictionary definitions for cynosure


  1. a person or thing that attracts notice, esp because of its brilliance or beauty
  2. something that serves as a guide
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Derived Formscynosural, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Latin Cynosūra the constellation of Ursa Minor, from Greek Kunosoura, from cyno- + oura tail
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 cynosure


1590s, from Middle French cynosure (16c.), from Latin Cynosura, literally "dog's tail," the constellation (now Ursa Minor) containing the North Star, the focus of navigation, from Greek kynosoura, literally "dog's tail," from kyon (genitive kynos; see canine) + oura "tail."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper