[ sahy-nuh-shoo r, sin-uh- ]
/ ˈsaɪ nəˌʃʊər, ˈsɪn ə- /


something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.: the cynosure of all eyes.
something serving for guidance or direction.

Nearby words

  1. cyno-,
  2. cynocephaly,
  3. cynodont,
  4. cynophobia,
  5. cynopodous,
  6. cynthia,
  7. cynwulf,
  8. cyo,
  9. cyod,
  10. cyperaceous

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cynosure

British Dictionary definitions for cynosure


/ (ˈsɪnəˌzjʊə, -ʃʊə) /


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

Word Origin for cynosure

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper