A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls
"figure used in printing and writing to indicate footnote, omission, etc.," late 14c., asterich, asterisc, from Late Latin asteriscus, from Greek asterikos "little star," diminutive of aster "star" (see astro-). As a verb from 1733.
"*" ASCII code 42. Common names include: star; INTERCAL: splat; ITU-T: asterisk. Rare: wild card; gear; dingle; mult; spider; aster; times; twinkle; glob; Nathan Hale.
Commonly used as the multiplication operator and as the Kleene star. Often doubled, as in "x**2", to mean "to the power". In C and related languages, asterisk is used as the dereference operator, "*p" meaning "the thing pointed to by p".