• synonyms


[ puhl-sahr ]
/ ˈpʌl sɑr /


Astronomy. one of several hundred known celestial objects, generally believed to be rapidly rotating neutron stars, that emit pulses of radiation, especially radio waves, with a high degree of regularity.

Nearby words

pulpwood, pulpy, pulpy nucleus, pulque, pulquería, pulsar, pulsate, pulsatile, pulsatility, pulsatilla, pulsating star

Origin of pulsar

1965–70; puls(ating st)ar, on the model of quasar Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pulsar

  • The first clue is the behavior of a pulsar—a tiny but massive object that rapidly rotates, sending flashes of light toward Earth.

    Space’s Mysterious Earth-Sized White Diamond|Matthew R. Francis|June 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST

British Dictionary definitions for pulsar


/ (ˈpʌlˌsɑː) /


any of a number of very small extremely dense objects first observed in 1967, which rotate very rapidly and emit very regular pulses of polarized radiation, esp radio waves. They are thought to be neutron stars formed following supernova explosions

Word Origin for pulsar

C20: from puls (ating st) ar, on the model of quasar
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 pulsar



1968, from pulse (n.1), the form on analogy of quasar. When discovered in 1967, they were thought perhaps to be signals from alien civilizations and astronomers informally dubbed them LGM for "Little Green Men."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for pulsar


[ pŭlsär′ ]

A rapidly spinning neutron star that emits radiation, usually radio waves, in narrow beams focused by the star's powerful magnetic field and streaming outward from its magnetic poles. Because the pulsar's magnetic poles do not align with the poles of its rotational axis, the beams of radiation sweep around like the beacon of a lighthouse and are thus observed on Earth as short, regular pulses, with periods anywhere between 1 millisecond and 4 seconds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for pulsar


[ (pul-sahr) ]

A rapidly rotating neutron star. The radiation from such a star appears to come in a series of regular pulses (one per revolution), which explains the name.

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.