From Middle English lode (“journey, course”) + star, where lode is an archaic noun from the verb lithe (“to go, journey”), related to lead. Other Middle English spellings include: 14th century loode sterre, lood-sterre, lade-sterne; and 15th century lode sterre. Cognate with Old Norse leiðarstjarna, Dutch leidster, German Leitstern, Danish ledestjerne, Swedish ledstjärna.
lodestar (plural lodestars)
- A star used as a navigation reference, particularly a pole star such as Polaris.
- 1905, Sidney Robinson Kennedy, The Lodestar, page 332:
- He was no wavering mariner; he had taken his course from a single lodestar, by which he had steered from the first day he had seen it in his heavens — the lodestar that had shone for him and would always shine.
- (figuratively) A guiding tenet or principle.
- 1851, Mary Carpenter, “Reformatory Schools”, in The Prospective Review, volume 7, page 355:
- May we not define its true aim to be that of awakening in the heart those feelings towards moral and religious objects, which like attractions drawing towards the great lodestars of existence, shall ever keep the life right and stedfast?
- (law) A calculated amount to award as attorney's fees derived by multiplying the reasonable number of hours spent working on a case by the reasonable hourly billing rate.
- 1992, Richard L. Marcus, Complex litigation: cases and materials on advanced civil procedure:
- Many, though not all, of the objections to lodestars seem to us to be overstated.