[ sahy-nuh-shoor, sin-uh- ]
See synonyms for cynosure on
  1. something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.: the cynosure of all eyes.

  2. something serving for guidance or direction: Gandhi's life remains a cynosure for all of us.

Origin of cynosure

First recorded in 1590–1600; from Latin Cynosūra, from Greek Kynósoura the constellation Ursa Minor (Little Dipper), equivalent to kynós “dog's” (genitive of kýōn ) + ourá “tail”; see origin at hound1, ass2

Other words from cynosure

  • cy·no·sur·al, adjective

Words that may be confused with cynosure

Words Nearby cynosure Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cynosure in a sentence

  • As the pairs gradually dropped out, Haggard and his partner became the cynosure of every eye.

  • The cynosure of the inner circle is personal piety, combined with a “penny a week and a shilling a quarter.”

  • No one else could sit at such perfect ease, the cynosure of so many eyes.

    The Varmint | Owen Johnson
  • This, naturally, greatly increased our comfort, since we became at once the cynosure (as the learned would say) of every eye.

  • They were the cynosure of the entire room as they went up the carpeted steps of the dais and knelt before the king.

    The Land of the Changing Sun | William N. Harben

British Dictionary definitions for cynosure


/ (ˈsɪnəˌzjʊə, -ʃʊə) /

  1. a person or thing that attracts notice, esp because of its brilliance or beauty

  2. something that serves as a guide

Origin of cynosure

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

Derived forms of cynosure

  • cynosural, adjective

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