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[sahy-nuh-shoo r, sin-uh-] /ˈsaɪ nəˌʃʊər, ˈsɪn ə-/
something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.:
the cynosure of all eyes.
something serving for guidance or direction.
Origin of cynosure
1590-1600; < Latin Cynosūra < Greek Kynósoura the constellation Ursa Minor, equivalent to kynós dog's (genitive of kýōn) + ourá tail
Related forms
cynosural, adjective
Can be confused
cynosure, sinecure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cynosure
Historical Examples
  • He was like one transformed, the cynosure of all initiated in the mysteries of this divinity.

    The Symposium Xenophon
  • He was the cynosure of all eyes then, and observed of all observers.

    The Making Of A Novelist David Christie Murray
  • To use a poetical phrase, Marengo now became the “cynosure of every eye.”

    The Young Voyageurs Mayne Reid
  • Or, if he swaggered as he walked, the cynosure of all eyes, from the pavilion to the pitch.

    The Hill Horace Annesley Vachell
  • We were soon under the observation of the company, and became the cynosure of a circle.

    The War Trail Mayne Reid
  • cynosure, the star near the North Pole, by which sailors steer.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher
  • At the time of the occurrence Parker was the cynosure for all eyes.

    Shadow and Light

    Mifflin Wistar Gibbs
  • No one else could sit at such perfect ease, the cynosure of so many eyes.

    The Varmint Owen Johnson
  • Instantly he became the cynosure of a battery of disapproving eyes.

    Desert Conquest

    A. M. Chisholm
  • He turned from Paul, who sat down, the cynosure of many eyes.

    The Shadow of the Czar John R. Carling
British Dictionary definitions for cynosure


/ˈsɪnəˌzjʊə; -ʃʊə/
a person or thing that attracts notice, esp because of its brilliance or beauty
something that serves as a guide
Derived Forms
cynosural, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin Cynosūra the constellation of Ursa Minor, from Greek Kunosoura, from cyno- + oura tail
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 cynosure

1590s, from Middle French cynosure (16c.), from Latin Cynosura, literally "dog's tail," the constellation (now Ursa Minor) containing the North Star, the focus of navigation, from Greek kynosoura, literally "dog's tail," from kyon (genitive kynos; see canine) + oura "tail."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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