# Asterism (typography)

Asterism
Punctuation Word dividers General typography Intellectual property Currency apostrophe ( ’ ' ) brackets ( [ ], ( ), { }, ⟨ ⟩ ) colon ( : ) comma ( , ، 、 ) dash ( ‒, –, —, ― ) ellipsis ( …, ..., . . . ) exclamation mark ( ! ) full stop / period ( . ) guillemets ( « » ) hyphen ( ‐ ) hyphen-minus ( - ) question mark ( ? ) quotation marks ( ‘ ’, “ ”, ' ', " " ) semicolon ( ; ) slash / stroke / solidus ( /,  ⁄  ) interpunct ( · ) space ( ) ( ) ( ) ampersand ( & ) asterisk ( * ) at sign ( @ ) backslash ( \ ) bullet ( • ) caret ( ^ ) dagger ( †, ‡ ) degree ( ° ) ditto mark ( ″ ) inverted exclamation mark ( ¡ ) inverted question mark ( ¿ ) number sign / pound / hash ( # ) numero sign ( № ) obelus ( ÷ ) ordinal indicator ( º, ª ) percent, per mil ( %, ‰ ) basis point ( ‱ ) pilcrow ( ¶ ) prime ( ′, ″, ‴ ) section sign ( § ) tilde ( ~ ) underscore / understrike ( _ ) vertical bar / broken bar / pipe ( ¦, | ) copyright symbol ( © ) registered trademark ( ® ) service mark ( ℠ ) sound recording copyright ( ℗ ) trademark ( ™ ) currency (generic) ( ¤ ) currency (specific) ( ) asterism ( ⁂ ) index / fist ( ☞ ) interrobang ( ‽ ) irony punctuation ( ؟ ) lozenge ( ◊ ) reference mark ( ※ ) tie ( ⁀ ) diacritical marks logic symbols whitespace characters non-English quotation style ( « », „ ” ) Chinese punctuation Hebrew punctuation Japanese punctuation Korean punctuation

In typography, an asterism, from the Greek astēr ('star'),[1] is a rarely used and nearly obsolete[2] symbol consisting of three asterisks placed in a triangle (). It is used to "indicate minor breaks in text,"[3] call attention to a passage, or to separate sub-chapters in a book. It is Unicode character U+2042 asterism (HTML: &#8258;). In Windows it is possible to use the key combination ALT+8258 to produce the character, but it has very limited support in the default fonts (Arial Unicode MS / Lucida Sans Unicode / MS Mincho).

Asterisms in James Joyce Ulysses, the "Wandering Rocks" chapter, from the 1922 edition. The 1961 edition used a hollow star (☆), the 1984 edition used a dinkus (***).

Often, this symbol is replaced with three consecutive asterisks (called a dinkus[4]), more than three asterisks, or three or more dots.[2] Otherwise, an extra space between paragraphs is used. An asterism or its analogue may be used in conjunction with the extra space to mark a smaller subdivision than a subchapter.

It can also be used to mean 'untitled' or author or title withheld, for example, some editions of Album for the Young by composer Robert Schumann (no.'s 21, 26, and 30).[5] Besides originating from the same word, "the rarely used asteriscus (܍), which Isidore of Seville (p. 48) says 'is put in place of something that has been omitted so as to call attention to the omission'," also resembles the asterism.[1]

The asterism should not be confused with the similar looking therefore signU+2234 therefore (HTML: &#8756; &there4;) — which is composed of three round dots rather than asterisks.

## LaTeX

In the typesetting language LaTeX, an asterism can be defined as a command by inserting something similar to the code below in the LaTeX document's ‘preamble’:

  \newcommand{\asterism}{{\footnotesize \smash{%
\raisebox{-.2ex}{%
\setlength{\tabcolsep}{0.5pt}%
\begin{tabular}{@{}cc@{}}%
\multicolumn2c*\\[-1.5ex] *&*%
\end{tabular}}}}}


An asterism can then be inserted in the body of a document by using the \asterism command.