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From (the stem of) Latin constellatus (starred) +‎ -ate, equivalent to con- +‎ stellate.


constellate (third-person singular simple present constellates, present participle constellating, simple past and past participle constellated)

  1. (transitive) To combine as a cluster.
    • 1752 February 18, Samuel Johnson, The Rambler[1], volume 6, number 201, page 229:
      [] he who is solicitous for his own improvement, must not suffer his endeavours to be limited by local reputation, but select from every tribe of mortals their characteristical virtues, and constellate in himself the scattered graces which shine single in other men.
  2. (transitive) To fit, adorn (as if) with constellations.
    • 1611, John Donne, An Anatomy of the World[2], London: Samuel Macham:
      What Artist now dares boast that he can bring
      Heaven hither, or constellate any thing,
      So as the influence of those starres may bee
      Imprisond in an Herbe, or Charme, or Tree,
      And doe by touch, all which those starres could do?
    • 1796, Matthew Lewis, chapter 12, in The Monk[3], volume 3, London: J. Bell, pages 277–278:
      The abbot was not merely accused of rape and murder; the crime of sorcery was laid to his charge, as well as to Matilda’s. [] To criminate the monk, the constellated mirror was produced, which Matilda had accidentally left in his chamber.
    • 1822, Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Question”[4], lines 9–11:
      There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,
      Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth,
      The constellated flower that never sets;
    • 1897, Walter Raleigh, Style[5], “Sincerity”, page 91:
      [] even the constellated glories of Paradise Lost are less moving than the plain words wherein Samson [Agonistes] forecasts his approaching end []
  3. (intransitive) To (form a) cluster.
    • 2013, Hilary Mantel, “Royal Bodies”, in London Review of Books, volume 35, number 4:
      It’s no surprise that so much fiction constellates around the subject of Henry and his wives.
  4. (intransitive) To shine with united radiance, or one general light.
    • 1660, Robert Boyle, Seraphick Love[6], 4th edition (published under the title Some Motives and Incentives to the Love of God), London: H. Herringman, published 1665, page 52:
      [] the several things which are wont most to Engage and Heighten our affections, do, in a peculiar and transcendent manner, Shine forth and Constellate in God.

Related terms[edit]