The meaning of Stellar – everything you ever wanted to know and more
Stellar is used to described something that is outstanding, wonderful, leading, and better than everything else! To be a “star” has been an expression since the 1820s, when the word “starring” was used to describe “to be futured in a play” and later became "being the most important on the stage", now with well know meaning of “star of the show” and having “starlight”. The word Stellar - composed of stars - is consequently a compliment beyond being a shining star.
vocabulary.com and wordreference.com
Stellar – a shiny star of the 1970’s area of cool and awesome
When doing research for a 70s retro design brief I came across the word Stellar and felt inspired to make a print design as I found it beautiful. Stellar emerged as a slang word in the 70s, and the meaning of it was more in the direction of “cool” which has more of a chill connotation than the direct Latin translation “made of stars”. The 70s was an area of so much coolness that “cool” wasn’t precise enough, several synonyms came up to better describe all the awesomeness, such as “groovy”, “funky”, “rad”, “dope”, “wicked”, “wango”, “lit”, “gnarly”, “far-out” … and so many more. To me, Stellar outshines them all with its beautiful star reference. The reason why the word Stellar emerged as slang during this period was probably because space was a hot topic with the moon landing in 1969, and a word that was used in the news in its scientific sense. Everything about interstellar space was considered very cool, and the actual meaning of the Latin word Stellar just fits to describe greatness.
The book on Elton John by Tom Doyle: "Captain Fantastic: Elton John's Stellar Trip Through the '70s" confirms the words association to stardom and the 70s!
What about Stella?
Not all 70s slang was friendly though, the shorter version of the word “Stella” was a rude way to describe a 'disco' chick, someone arrogant and full of themselves. inthe70s.com
The comfort of nostalgia and joyful self-expression
Since the Covid outbreak, I’ve started to create more retro inspired designs (Stellar, Retro Bloom, Hope and Love). I’m certainly not unique in that! Instagram is full of bold floral and tie-die patterns, boho dresses, crochet-tops, jumpsuits, disco glam and not to mention the big 70s sunglasses. It makes sense that in uncertain times we reach out to the familiar which gives us reassuring comfort. Research supports that nostalgia serves as a security-blanket when life isn’t going too well, and that it’s the best memories that surface with the sadder ones left behind. Even though I wasn’t born in the 70s the style is so iconic that it’s been around my whole life.
"The '60s and '70s celebrated self-expression. I think after months at home, everyone is ready to embrace and express themselves through fashion again" says Sarah Staudinger, designer behind Staud clothing. thezoereport.com
Its 2021 and 70s influences are all around us:
- WandaVision, part of the Marvel Universe, has episodes set in the 60s and 70s, which is very visible from both the clothes and the set deco.
- Retro fashion style “Notwithstanding the hardships and darkness of the era, beauty still bloomed. The masses delighted in colorful, joyful silhouettes.” thezoereport.com
- 70s homeware –“Loud, Eclectic & Optimistic” refinery29.com
- Society6 is full of bold 70s art-prints, including some of mine.
- Knitting and crochet had its heydays in the 60s and 70s and has grown popular again. The New York Times explains that in stressful times, we knitt for calm and connection.
- “It’s much too early to declare 2021 “the year of the 70’s throwback” but the groundwork is certainly there. “A good read for you music nerds” thefortyfive.com
Where it all begun - Stellar in Astronomy
- Stellar is Latin for ‘composed of stars’ or ‘characteristic of stars’.
- The actual word for star in Latin is Stella. Synonyms of Stellar are astral, star, starry. A star is defined as a “hot, gaslike, bright body in space, such as the Sun” and has its origin in the Greek word astro.
- Stellar used to mean "star-shaped", that meaning is today replaced with "stellular," "stellate," and "stelliform."
- Stellar Astronomy covers everything about the sun and the stars. This branch of astronomy studies the dynamics of the Stellar System – The Milky Way Galaxy.
- Stellar parallax is what is used for measuring distance in space.The apparent shift of position of any nearby star (or other object) against the background of distant objects.
The 70s was an area with much progress on Stellar Astronomy, which is a likely contributor to Stellar becoming and everyday expression for cool and awesome! Timeline of Astronomy
Stellar - composed of Stars
Having lived with the pandemic for a while, we are probably many that welcomes that 70s spark of joy! You are Stellar for reading all the way to the end, thank you! Did I miss anything about Stellar? Leave a comment, I’ll be very happy to hear from you!
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