Asterisk (characters)

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The asterisk , also asterisk , the asterisk or the asterisk ( * , older as a note symbol also ; from late Latin asteriscus , from ancient Greek ἀστερίσκος asterískos , "asterisk") is a typographic symbol in the form of a five or six-pointed star.

8-pointed asterisk as a footnote mark in a German print from 1779
The asterisk in the fonts Arial , Times New Roman , Calibri , Cambria , Palatino Linotype, Andron Mega Corpus, DejaVu Sans, DejaVu Serif, Cardo, Courier New and Consolas , each together with the letter I to mark the capital height


Typography and writing

Communication technology and data processing

Klarstern key on a desktop calculating machine , around 1970
  • Special key on telephone keypads
  • On calculating machines , the sum key is marked with a star symbol (" clear star "). In this function, the symbol is standardized in DIN ISO 7000 "Graphic symbols on facilities" as the symbol ISO-7000-0656 "Total" (German "Result").
  • Various computer application programs accept the asterisk as keyboard input for the mark and then display it as an asterisk.
  • When entering passwords , only asterisks are often displayed instead of the characters entered for security reasons. Many operating systems now use the special character “black circle” for this purpose ( see Unicode block geometric shapes ).
  • Bold: When text formatting is not available, the asterisk is often used like a quotation mark to indicate emphasis or the font style in bold . Since these spellings are also common in e-mails (because rich text format is often not available or was not yet usable for this when e-mail emerged ), such text is highlighted in many e-mail programs. These functions are increasingly being used in the comment functions of many weblog systems, mostly with the help of various simplified markup languages (such as Markdown ): Some of these use the asterisk as " source code " to highlight text passages ( *kursiv*, **fett**).
  • Bullets : Similar to the bold type, the asterisk acts as a bullet point for lists. Many word processing programs therefore automatically convert a single asterisk at the beginning of a paragraph into a formatted list item as you type. For example, markdown or wiki syntax convert lines that begin with an asterisk into list elements according to certain rules (the syntax ).


Computer science



Character encoding


The Unicode defines a variety of stars and star-like symbols:

Coding in Unicode
Code point character description Designation in the standard block
U + 002A * asterisk ASTERISK Basic Latin (0000–007F)
U + 066D ٭ Arabic star , five-pointed ARABIC FIVE POINTED STAR Arabic (0600-06FF)
U + 203B Komejirushi (Japanese reference mark) REFERENCE MARK General punctuation (2000–206F)
U + 2042 Asterism ASTERISM General punctuation (2000–206F)
U + 204E subscript asterisk LOW ASTERISK General punctuation (2000–206F)
U + 2051 two vertically arranged asterisks TWO ASTERISKS ALIGNED VERTICALLY General punctuation (2000–206F)
U + 205C Cross with dots DOTTED CROSS General punctuation (2000–206F)
U + 2217 Hodge star operator ASTERISK OPERATOR Math operators (2200–22FF)
U + 229B circled star operator CIRCLED ASTERISK OPERATOR Math operators (2200–22FF)
U + 22C6 Star operator
usage: power in APL
STAR OPERATOR Math operators (2200–22FF)
U + 2605 Black five-pointed star BLACK STAR Various symbols (2600-26FF)
U + 2606 White five-pointed star WHITE STAR Various symbols (2600-26FF)
U + 26B9 Sextile SEXTILE Various symbols (2600–26FF)
U + 2731 bold asterisk HEAVY ASTERISK Dingbats (2700-27BF)
U + 2732 bold asterisk with an open center OPEN CENTER ASTERISK Dingbats (2700-27BF)
U + 29C6 Asterisk enclosed in a square SQUARED ASTERISK Assorted Math Symbols-B (2980–29FF)
U + 2A6E Equal sign with a star above EQUALS WITH ASTERISK Additional math operators (2A00–2AFF)
U + A673 Slavic asterisk SLAVONIC ASTERISK Cyrillic extended-B (A640 – A69F)
U + FE61 little asterisk SMALL ASTERISK Small shape variants (FE50 – FE6F)
U + FF0A Asterisk full width ( CJK ) FULLWIDTH ASTERISK Half-width and full-width forms (FF00 – FFEF)

In addition, in the Unicode block Dingbats in the area U + 2729 – U + 274B there are a number of more or less star-shaped symbol characters (sometimes called ASTERISK).

TeX / LaTeX

In the markup languages ​​of the formula set TeX or LaTeX, one encodes:

Coding in latex
Instruction symbol comment
* * \**Use at the beginning of the line if necessary
\ast Math mode ($ ... $) required
\circledast Package "amssymb" and math mode ($ ... $) required
\star Math mode ($ ... $) required
\bigstar Package "amssymb" and math mode ($ ... $) required
\FiveStarOpen Package "bbding" required; to be embedded in \ mbox {} or \ text {} when subscript or superscript

Web links

Commons : asterisks  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Duden. German universal dictionary. The comprehensive dictionary of meanings in contemporary German. 8th, revised and expanded edition. Edited by the von Duden editorial team. Dudenverlag, Berlin 2015, p. 188.
  2. Pierer's Universal Lexikon, Volume 1. Altenburg 1857, p. 850, keyword Asteriscus ( at )
  3. ^ Anonymous: principles of heraldry or heraldic art . 2 (Wapen Art). Pützische Buchhandlung, Cologne 1779, Chur Hanover, p. 58 .
  4. ^ Stephan Kekule von Stradonitz: About the use of an international auxiliary language for genealogical research . In: Mitteilungen der Zentralstelle für Deutschen Personen- und Familiengeschichte , 6th issue, Leipzig 1910, p. 30. , accessed on August 31, 2010
  5. ^ Friedrich Forssman , Ralf de Jong: Detail typography . 2nd Edition. Hermann Schmidt, Mainz 2004, ISBN 3-87439-642-8 , punctuation marks - everyday special characters, p. 190 .
  6. Walther Multa 32. In: Computer Lexicon. Retrieved July 31, 2012 .
  7. Erich Ruhland: The secretary. A teaching, work and reference work in question and answer. 5th edition, Frankfurt am Main 1972, p. 144: 60. What does the sum key do? - It prints the result ("Klarstern") and brings the counter back to zero.
  8. ^ Wolfgang Ludwig-Mayerhofer : Lecture: Statistical Testing. (PDF) University of Siegen , p. 33 , accessed on August 8, 2018 .
  9. Fang Jing Blog. Retrieved May 18, 2015 .
  10. Stack Exchange entry. Retrieved May 18, 2015 .