In typography, an asterism ("group of stars")[1] is the typographic symbol consisting of three asterisks placed in a triangle: .

apostrophe  '
brackets [ ]  ( )  { }  ⟨ ⟩
colon :
comma ,  ،  
dash ‒  –  —  ―
ellipsis  ...  . . .      
exclamation mark !
full stop, period .
guillemets ‹ ›  « »
hyphen-minus -
question mark ?
quotation marks ‘ ’  “ ”  ' '  " "
semicolon ;
slash, stroke, solidus /    
Word dividers
interpunct ·
General typography
ampersand &
asterisk *
at sign @
backslash \
basis point
caret ^
dagger † ‡ ⹋
degree °
ditto mark ” 〃
equals sign =
inverted exclamation mark ¡
inverted question mark ¿
komejirushi, kome, reference mark
multiplication sign ×
number sign, pound, hash #
numero sign
obelus ÷
ordinal indicator º ª
percent, per mil % ‰
plus, minus + −
plus-minus, minus-plus ± ∓
section sign §
tilde ~
underscore, understrike _
vertical bar, pipe, broken bar |    ¦
Intellectual property
copyright ©
copyleft 🄯
sound-recording copyright
registered trademark ®
service mark
currency sign ¤

؋฿¢$֏ƒ£元 圆 圓 ¥

Uncommon typography
fleuron, hedera
index, fist
irony punctuation
In other scripts

Now the symbol is used rarely and is nearly obsolete.[2] Its purpose is to "indicate minor breaks in text",[3] call attention to a passage, or to separate sub-chapters in a book.

It is encoded by Unicode as character U+2042 ASTERISM (HTML ⁂). Fonts that provide the Unicode character include Arial Unicode MS, Code2000, Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, MS (P)Mincho and Segoe UI.[citation needed]

Asterisms in use
Asterisms in James Joyce Ulysses, the "Wandering Rocks" chapter, from the 1922 edition. The 1961 edition used a hollow "white" star (☆), and the 1984 edition used a "dinkus" (***).

Often, this symbol is replaced with three consecutive asterisks (called a dinkus[4]), more than three asterisks, or three or more dots.[2] Otherwise, an extra space between paragraphs is used. An asterism or its analogue may be used in conjunction with the extra space to mark a smaller subdivision than a sub-chapter.

It can also be used to mean "untitled" or author or title withheld. For example, some editions of Album for the Young by composer Robert Schumann (no. 21, 26, and 30).[5]

In meteorology, an asterism in a station model indicates moderate snowfall.[citation needed]

The asterisk (Latin: asteriscus) is mentioned by Isidore of Seville as "put in place of something that has been omitted so as to call attention to the omission".[clarification needed][6]

The asterism should not be confused with the similarly looking therefore sign, U+2234 THEREFORE (HTML ∴ · ∴), which is composed of three round dots rather than asterisks.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ From the Greek astēr (star) Alexander Humez, Nicholas D. Humez (2008). On the Dot: The Speck That Changed the World, p. 72 & 186n. ISBN 978-0-19-532499-0.
  2. ^ a b Radim Peško, Louis Lüthi (2007). Dot Dot Dot 13, p. 193. Stuart Bailey, Peter Bilak, eds. ISBN 978-90-77620-07-6.
  3. ^ Hudson, Robert (2010). The Christian Writer's Manual of Style, p. 396. ISBN 978-0-310-86136-2.
  4. ^ Lundmark, Torbjorn Quirky Qwerty: A Biography of the Keyboard (2002).
  5. ^ Taruskin, Richard (2005). The Oxford history of western music, Volume 3, p. 311. ISBN 978-0-19-516979-9.
  6. ^ Asteriscus apponitur in iis, quae omissa sunt, ut illucescant per iam notam, quae deesse videntur. Stella enim ἀστήρ graeco sermone dicitur, a quo Asteriscus est derivatus. Figura 1. Isidore of Seville. Etymologiae. p. 33.