a star, approximately the size of the earth, that has undergone gravitational collapse and is in the final stage of evolution for low-mass stars, beginning hot and white and ending cold and dark (black dwarf).
Words nearby white dwarf
Compare Chandrasekhar limit.
Origin of white dwarf
First recorded in 1920–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for white dwarf
one of a large class of small faint stars of enormous density (on average 10 8 kg/m³) with diameters only about 1 per cent that of the sun, and masses less than the Chandrasekhar limit (about 1.4 solar masses). It is thought to mark the final stage in the evolution of a sun-like star
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 white dwarf
A small, extremely dense star characterized by high temperature and luminosity. A white dwarf is believed to be in its final stage of evolution, having either used up most of its nuclear fuel in its main-sequence stage, or else moved through a giant stage and shed any remaining fuel in its outer layer as a planetary nebula, leaving only a glowing core. Some 10 percent of all stars in the Milky Way are white dwarfs, but despite their intrinsic luminosity, they are so small that none are visible to the naked eye. See Note at dwarf.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for white dwarf
A kind of star about the size of the Earth. White dwarfs represent a final stage of the life cycle of stars similar to the sun; they are formed when the stars use up their fuel and can no longer support nuclear reactions.
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.