Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday July 3, 2002
cynosure \SY-nuh-shoor; SIN-uh-shoor\
1. An object that serves as a focal point of attention and admiration.
2. That which serves to guide or direct.
3. [Capitalized]. The northern constellation Ursa Minor, which contains the North Star; also, the North Star itself.
The monarch, at the apex of court power and centre of its ritual, and the greatest patron of the arts, was the cynosure of this culture, standing (or, more usually, sitting) at the centre of a system of artistic practice intended to represent his or her sacred omnipotence and monopoly of power.
-- John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination
Lucy is very pretty and becomes the cynosure not only of the aforementioned characters, but also of several faceless and epicene young men who also loiter about.
-- John Simon, "Stealing Beauty", National Review, July 15, 1996
Then, feeling himself the cynosure of every eye in the library, he extemporized a brief speech on his "lucky day."
-- Peter Schneider, Eduard's Homecoming
Cynosure derives from Latin cynosura, from Greek kunosoura, "dog's tail, the constellation Ursa Minor," from kuon, kun-, "dog" + oura, "tail."