lodestar

[lohd-stahr]
noun
1.
a star that shows the way.
3.
something that serves as a guide or on which the attention is fixed.
Also, loadstar.


Origin:
1325–75; Middle English loode sterre. See lode, star

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
lodestar or loadstar (ˈləʊdˌstɑː)
 
n
1.  a star, esp the North Star, used in navigation or astronomy as a point of reference
2.  something that serves as a guide or model
 
[C14: literally, guiding star. See lode]
 
loadstar or loadstar
 
n
 
[C14: literally, guiding star. See lode]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

lodestar
late 14c., an old name for the pole star (cf. O.N. leiðarstjarna) as the star that "leads the way" in navigation; from lode + star.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
lodestar also loadstar   (lōd'stär')  Pronunciation Key 
A star, especially Polaris, that is used as a point of reference.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Rand has always been a lodestar for proponents of limited government.
In determining the amount of attorneys' fees to award, the court's first task
  is to determine the lodestar.
The lodestar method also has been utilized when counsel are salaried employees
  of non-profit organizations.
It is substantially less than the lodestar amount based upon counsel's rates
  and time invested.
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