Metaphors and idioms can help us be more expressive and create a picture in people’s minds.
The following star metaphors use stars to help create a vivid picture in the mind. The first 4 metaphors help us to describe stars more effectively. They personify stars – which means they give stars human traits, such as “winking” and “watching”.
The last 3 metaphors employ stars to describe other things and people, such as calling people ‘stars’ to describe how they are amazing and exceptional people.
List of Star Metaphors
1. The Stars Winked
Sometimes stars in the sky twinkle, which makes them look like they’re winking at you. Of course, stars don’t wink – they’re not even eyes! Here, we’re personifying stars by saying they do something humans do, despite the fact they’re just big balls of gas billions of miles away.
Nonetheless, it’s a nice turn of phrase and way of describing a starry night. You might use this metaphor in your writing when talking about the stars emerging and the day turning to night, for example.
2. The Stars Watched
Stars seem to sit up their in the sky and “watch over us”. They sit still but ever steady, always there. This is another example of personification. Stars don’t actually “watch” anyone. But the fact you always seem to be in their site, and they’re always there hanging over us, we can say that they are persistently watching up.
3. The Stars Peeked out from Behind the Clouds
Once again, the stars are personified for this metaphor. And another continuing motif here is the idea that they’re eyes – eternally watching us! This time, the eyes are ‘peeking’. This metaphor can be employed in writing when talking about the parting of clouds to reveal the night sky beyond. As the clouds move, you can imagine the stars looking around the clouds to take a peek at us from above.
4. The Stars Turned On
The stars look like little lights in the sky. And as darkness falls and the sun’s rays subside, we start to see the moon and stars appearing one by one overhead. If you lie on the ground and watch, you see them appear suddenly, one by one. This sudden appearance reminds us a lot of someone flicking a switch to turn on the little lights in the sky. This sensation that the stars are turning on has led to the metaphor: “the stars turned on as day turned to night”.
5. The Stars Hung in the Night’s Sky
Obviously, stars do not ‘hang’. But they look very much like things that we hang from the ceiling. Think of toys hanging over a baby’s crib, for example. They hover calmly in the air. Similarly, it feels as if the stars are hanging – clinging to the black tapestry above. They’re still, not falling or affected by wind or gravity. This idea that the stars are hanging is of course figurative, not literal, making this a good metaphor for the stars.
6. A Celebrity is a Star
The idea that we would call a celebrity a “star” always perplexed me. But there are some interesting associations here, too. Stars hover above us, shining bright. Similarly, celebrities are held in higher esteem than regular people. And we can see them as people who “shine” and attract our attention more than other people.
The idea of celebrities as ‘stars’ is depicted on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which has celebrities’ names written in stars on the pavement. To my knowledge, the idea of calling celebrities stars stems from this origin, but it has now become an idiom detached from its original context.
7. Your Star Shines Bright
When we tell someone that their star shines bright, we’re telling them that they are amazing and being their best self! To let your star shine is to be yourself – because the real you is amazing! When a person’s star is shining, the people around them will notice them and be in awe of their individuality, uniqueness and talent.
8. It’s Written in the Stars
Something that is written in the stars is something that’s destined – it is destiny! The stars are something that are above us and out of our control – a force of nature that we cannot interact with. So, if something is written in the stars, it’s inevitable and we can’t change it.
This saying my originate from the astrological idea that the alignment of the stars at our birth can tell us about the sort of person we will be and the life we will have.
This first recorded mention of the quote is from Shakespeare, where the fictional version of Julius Ceasar is talking about destiny. The original quote states:
the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves
In the original quote, Ceasar is telling Brutus that we are in control of fate, because our destiny is in our ourselves and not the stars. But, over time, we have re-used the quote in the context of saying something is written in the stars.
9. Star Crossed Lovers
As with the above idiom, this one too is about astrology and comes from Shakespeare. This quote states that the stars have been aligned in such a way that two people will not be allowed to be happily in love due to forces outside of their control. Most famously, it refers to Romeo and Juliet in the prologue:
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life
Star crossed lovers are destined to have bad luck and despite their deep love be separated by things they cannot control.
Star metaphors and idioms pepper our language. We have sayings about stars that help us describe them, as well as metaphors involving stars, where the stars are not the object of the metaphor but rather the descriptor. Across all these metaphors, we see repeated signs that stars represent eyes looking over us, and that in them we can see our own destinies.
I’m a Scorpio, I love the outdoors, and I’ve written articles in some major online publications like Medium and The Weekly. My favorite metaphor? Anything that’s got to do with baseball. I’m fascinated by the fact our language has baseball weaved all through it. Read more about me here.