One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A star-shaped fossil, especially a stem ossicle from certain fossil crinoids. Now historical.
2A form of stony coral having starlike apertures; = star stone. Now historical and rare.
Mid 16th century (in an earlier sense). From post-classical Latin astroites, former reading, e.g. in 16th-cent. editions of Pliny (where modern editions read classical Latin astriotes), apparently from ancient Greek ἄστρον star + classical Latin -ītēs.
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