Definition of asterisk in English:



  • A symbol (*) used to mark printed or written text, typically as a reference to an annotation or to stand for omitted matter.

    • ‘As in previous Intelligence and Security Committee reports, significant sections considered to be operationally sensitive were blanked out with asterisks following pre-publication vetting by the agencies.’
    • ‘Many significant differences of a small to moderate magnitude were found, as indicated by the asterisks.’
    • ‘I reveal most of the plot, so if you want to avoid the spoilers, skip any paragraph preceded by an asterisk (*).’
    • ‘The asterisk led to small print at the bottom of the page which read: ‘Offer subject to availability’.’
    • ‘Its text is interrupted in several dozen places with sets of asterisks that substitute for classified information that has been excised.’
    • ‘Programming languages often consist of a seemingly random usage of parentheses, brackets, asterisks, slashes, colons and semi-colons.’
    • ‘Everything should have asterisks and footnotes.’
    • ‘Scholarly notes are usually signalled by superscript numbers at appropriate points in a text, but such symbols as asterisks and obelisks may be used instead for footnotes.’
    • ‘An individual, whose name is marked with a double asterisk, gave a witness statement which was put in evidence under the Civil Evidence Act.’
    • ‘Anyway, more importantly, how did they manage to brainwash everyone into always putting that asterisk at the end?’
    • ‘Many search engines employ wild cards - special symbols, usually an asterisk (*), that you add to a term to indicate different possibilities.’
    • ‘Honestly, have you ever seen the word ‘free’ in a financial ad without an asterisk (*) or obelus next to it?’
    • ‘The 80 species denoted by a double asterisk are native species included on the State list of rare, threatened or endangered plants of Maryland.’
    • ‘It was the sort of ‘free’ that used to have to have a little asterisk next to it attached to some nasty fine print.’
    • ‘The asterisk footnote stated that all dates are for planning purposes and subject to change, so we may not see this running in actual business systems for quite some time.’
    • ‘And what did that asterisk highlight, what did it show?’
    • ‘Well, it's about time we removed that damn asterisk.’
    • ‘Unless you check the (barely visible) asterisk at the bottom of the nutrition facts panel, you'd never know that those numbers leave out the pound of ground beef that you're supposed to add.’
    • ‘The asterisk indicates a cross-reactive species.’
    • ‘The article proceeded to spell out the word in block capitals, replacing asterisks and leaving nothing to the imagination.’
    • ‘My comments follow your paragraphs and my asterisks.’


  • Mark (printed or written text) with an asterisk.

    ‘asterisked entries’
    • ‘All asterisked celebrities were pointed out to me by Seth, who is much better at recognizing famous people than I am, bless him.’
    • ‘The 42 functionally important positions are asterisked.’
    • ‘Now the clause that really throws things into a cocked hat in this case is the one I have asterisked.’
    • ‘The asterisked figures are for periods a little longer than the others, as they include time added on at the ends of the two halves to make up for stoppages.’
    • ‘It seems only fair that the new records be somehow asterisked.’
    • ‘I love the asterisked comment at the end of the New Urbanism part.’
    • ‘Note to the faint of heart: contains lots of asterisked profanity.’
    • ‘It involves a naughty word that every one of you knows and if I used it without asterisking, no one in the world would be harmed.’
    • ‘Newspapers still asterisk a word that's common currency in newsrooms up and down the country, but in literature the Chatterley classes started taking it as read.’
    • ‘Can I show your Lordships the paragraphs that we have asterisked?’
    • ‘He never said those words, including the asterisked one.’


Even though asterisk does not look like a tricky word to pronounce, it can be problematic. In both its singular and plural forms, it is often mispronounced as if it ends with -rix. Pronounced correctly, it ends with a -risk sound when singular and -risks when plural


Late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek asteriskos small star diminutive of astēr.