Asterism (typography)

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

Asterism (typography)
In UnicodeU+2042 ASTERISM (HTML ⁂)
Different from
Different fromU+0B83 TAMIL SIGN VISARGA (HTML ஃ)
U+2234 THEREFORE (HTML ∴ · ∴)

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.

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 ( 21, 26, and 30).[5]

In meteorology, an asterism in a station model indicates moderate snowfall.[6][7]

See alsoEdit

  • Therefore sign – three dots arranged in a triangle
  • Tamil sign visarga - three circles arranged in a triangle


  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. ^ Ahrens, C. Donald (2011). Essentials of meteorology: an invitation to the atmosphere (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. p. 461. ISBN 9780840049339. OCLC 651905769.
  7. ^ "Station Model Information for Weather Observations". National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center. Retrieved 2019-07-16.