/as"teuh risk/, n.
1. a small starlike symbol (*), used in writing and printing as a reference mark or to indicate omission, doubtful matter, etc.
2. Ling. the figure of a star (*) used to mark utterance that would be considered ungrammatical or otherwise unacceptable by native speakers of a language, as in * I enjoy to ski.
3. Historical Ling. the figure of a star (*) used to mark a hypothetical or reconstructed form that is not attested in a text or inscription.
4. something in the shape of a star or asterisk.
5. to mark with an asterisk.
[1350-1400; ME < L asteriscus < Gk asterískos, dim. of astér STAR]
Pronunciation. While ASTERISK is usually said as /as"teuh risk/, with the final syllable preceding the /k/, a metathesized pronunciation is also heard, in which the /s/ and /k/ change places producing /as"teuh riks/. This pronunciation, resulting in part from analogy with plural forms like kicks and sticks, can sometimes lead to a false analysis of /as"teuh riks/ as a plural pronunciation, with a corresponding singular /as"teuh rik/. The metathesized pronunciation, although occasionally heard among educated speakers, is usually considered nonstandard, as is the pronunciation with no /s/ in the final syllable.

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Universalium. 2010.

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