[ noh-vuh ]
See synonyms for nova on
noun,plural no·vas, no·vae [noh-vee]. /ˈnoʊ vi/. Astronomy.
  1. a star that suddenly becomes thousands of times brighter and then gradually fades to its original intensity.

Origin of nova

First recorded in 1680–90; from New Latin: noun use of feminine of Latin novus “new”; see also new

Other words from nova

  • no·va·like, adjective

Other definitions for Nova (2 of 2)

[ noh-vuh ]

  1. Also called Nova Salmon. a Pacific salmon cured in the style of Nova Scotia salmon.

  2. nova, (loosely) any smoked salmon. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use nova in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for nova


/ (ˈnəʊvə) /

nounplural -vae (-viː) or -vas
  1. a variable star that undergoes a cataclysmic eruption, observed as a sudden large increase in brightness with a subsequent decline over months or years; it is a close binary system with one component a white dwarf: Compare supernova

Origin of nova

C19: New Latin nova (stella) new (star), from Latin novus new

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

Scientific definitions for nova


[ ]

Plural novae () novas
  1. A white dwarf star that suddenly and temporarily becomes extremely bright as a result of the explosion at its surface of material accreted from an expanding companion star. The material, mostly hydrogen and helium, is attracted by the white dwarf's gravity and accumulates under growing pressure and heat until nuclear fusion is ignited. Unlike a supernova, a nova is not blown apart by the explosion and gradually returns to its original brightness over a period of weeks to years. Because of their sudden appearance where no star had been previously visible, novae were long thought to be new stars. Since 1925, novae have been classified as variable stars. Compare supernova.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for nova


[ (noh-vuh) ]

In astronomy, the appearance of a new star in the sky (nova is Latin for “new”). Novae are usually associated with the last stages in the life of a star. (See supernova.)

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.