typographical symbol or glyph

The asterisk (*) is a snowflake-like typographic symbol or glyph.[1]

It is so-called because it looks like an image of a star. Computer scientists and mathematicians often speak it as star. Example: the A* search algorithm.

In English, an asterisk is usually five-pointed or six-pointed in typefaces, and six- or eight-pointed when handwritten. It can be used as censorship. It is also used on the internet to correct one's spelling, in which case it appears after the correct word.


  1. from Greek: ἀστερίσκος, asteriskos, "little star" ἀστερίσκος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus.