June 16, 2016
nova (noun)
\NOH-vuh\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness and then within a few months or years grows dim again
How do you use it?
A nova can be several times—or even a million times—its normal brightness before it slowly returns to its former level of brightness.
Are you a word wiz?

"Nova" comes from the Latin word "novus." What do you think "novus" means?

Who knew that "novus" means "new"? The scientists who gave novas their name in 1927, that's who. (Both "novas" and "novae" can be used as the plural of "nova.") Novas aren't new stars, but stars that become novas are usually too faint to be seen without a telescope before they become novas, so they look like new stars when they become novas. "Novus" plays a part in a number of English words, including "innovate," which means both "to introduce something new" and "to do something in a new way," and "renovate," meaning "to make like new again."
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