stardust

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The night sky above Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory at Cerro Tololo, Chile. The bright region in the centre of the photograph is the Milky Way Galaxy, while the band of white light appearing to emerge from the horizon and stretch to the Milky Way is zodiacal light, caused by sunlight reflecting off stardust (sense 1.1) in the Solar System’s interplanetary dust cloud.

From star +‎ dust.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

stardust (usually uncountable, plural stardusts)

  1. (astronomy)
    1. Small fragments of dust-like material found in space; specifically, a type of cosmic dust that formed from cooling gases ejected from presolar stars, which was then incorporated into the cloud from which the Solar System condensed.
      Synonyms: extraterrestrial dust, space dust
      We are all made of stardust.
    2. (informal, dated) A distant cluster of stars resembling a cloud of dust, especially if the individual stars of which cannot be resolved with a telescope.
    3. (archaic) Small fragments in the Earth's atmosphere or on its surface originating from meteorites; meteor dust.
  2. (figurative)
    1. Something imaginary or lacking substance.
    2. An imaginary magic dust or powder that, when in one's eyes, supposedly causes one to view a person or thing favourably, even though this might not actually be warranted.
      My sister’s eyes were full of stardust – she’d spend hours lazily planning her future life when she would make her big break in the movies.
    3. An imaginary magic dust or powder supposedly able to give one charisma or other positive qualities; hence, charisma or glamour, especially that possessed by a celebrity.
      • 2015 May 5, Steven Davidoff Solomon, “Sprinkling a Little Celebrity Stardust on Silicon Valley”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
        Why would experienced deal makers want rock stars and actors to advise them? Why would entrepreneurs seek their money? There is a certain cachet with all that stardust, of course, and perhaps some free publicity.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ stardust, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “stardust, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]