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[as-truh-nawt, -not] /ˈæs trəˌnɔt, -ˌnɒt/
a person engaged in or trained for spaceflight.
Origin of astronaut
1925-30; astro- + (aero)naut, probably via French astronaute; see astronautical
Can be confused
astronaut, cosmonaut. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for astronaut
  • Blast off with an astronaut on his journey into space.
  • Since the dawn of the space era, astronaut fitness has been a large component of who gets chosen to fly into space.
  • If the timing is right, day-trippers may also get the chance to meet an astronaut and even view a liftoff.
  • The astronaut said he used a push-and-glide motion similar to cross-country skiing when he was on the moon.
  • Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up.
  • The pioneering astronaut foresees hotels in orbit-and trouble down below.
  • Read an interview with the first astronaut-turned-artist here.
  • During his training as an astronaut he had made light of the physical and psychological tests that spacemen had to endure.
  • Its outer skin is also made of soft, smooth materials so that if an astronaut does bump into it, she will not be harmed.
  • Payloads that are life-critical to a lot of people who don't wear astronaut suits.
British Dictionary definitions for astronaut


a person trained for travelling in space See also cosmonaut
Word Origin
C20: from astro- + -naut from Greek nautēs sailor, on the model of aeronaut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for astronaut

coined 1929 in science fiction, popularized from 1961 by U.S. space program, from astro- + nautes "sailor" (see naval). French astronautique (adj.) had been coined 1927 by "J.H. Rosny," pen name of Belgian-born science fiction writer Joseph Henri Honoré Boex (1856-1940) on model of aéronautique, and Astronaut was used in 1880 as the name of a fictional spaceship by English writer Percy Greg (1836-1889) in "Across the Zodiac."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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astronaut in Culture

astronaut definition

A crew member of a space mission launched by the United States. (See Apollo program and Mercury program.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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