A combining form with the meaning "pertaining to stars or celestial bodies" used in the formation of compound words. Variants aster-, and astr- before a vowel. → star.
Gk. astron "star," akin to L. stella (Fr. étoile, from O.Fr. esteile, from V.L. *stela), Skt. str-, tara-, Av. star-, Mid.Pers. star, stârag, Mod.Pers. setâré, axtar, see below; cf. O.E. steorra, E. star, Du. ster, O.H.G. sterro, Ger. Stern, PIE *ster- "star."
Mod.Pers. axtar, → star, from Mid.Pers. axtar.
The variants star-, estâr, estâré,
setâré are obvious. Note also the following
dialectal forms: (Lori, Laki) âsâra,
(Tabari) essâra, (Laki) hasâra, (Shughni)
xiterj, xtarag. The form axtar is less straightforward, leading
some philologists to suggest different origins for
setâré and axtar. According to
W. Eilers (Iranica), axtar is a back-fomation from
Mid.Pers. apâxtar "planet; north" produced by artificial dropping of the
first component. Apart from phonological difficulties inherent in this suggestion,
one must also explain how axtar meaning "planet"
became a general designation for star, as for example in
Mid.Pers. axtarmâr "astronomer," despite the relatively infinitesimal number
of planets known in ancient times.
W. Eilers' suggestion is pure theoretical construction; no factual evidence support it.
On the other hand, in Pahlavi texts, e.g. Bundahishn, axtar is extensively
used for "star, planet, and the signs of zodiac."