I would like to know what stylistic or register differences there are between зоря and зірка. In what contexts should one use the former and in what the latter?

3 Answers 3



  1. Star (astronomical object). Also:
    1a. Something visually similar to star (meteor, sparkle, etc).
    2b. (Figurative) Fortune, luck.
  2. Star (famous person).
  3. Star (geometric shape).
    The dictionary also lists spot on an animal's forehead as #4 and star-like shape of flower as #5, but I personally consider them to be subcases of meaning #3.


  1. Star (astronomical object). Also:
    1a. (Figurative) gentle appeal to a girl.
  2. Red sky during sunrise and sunset.
  3. Not so often — (figurative) start of something.
  4. Not so often — star (famous person).
  5. Not so often — star (geometric shape).
  6. Not so often — morning/evening bugle call.
  7. Not so often — (colloquial) meteor.
  8. Not so often — (dialect) star-like flower.

So, in short, while зоря can be used in almost every meaning of зірка, зоря has some additional meanings (i.e. #2 “red sky during sunrise and sunset“ and ones derived from it: #3 “start of something“ and “something that regularly happens at morning or evening“, including #6 “morning/evening bugle call“), which prevail over non-primary meanings of зірка.

  • thanks! I'd read the dictionary definition. My question was about register and style. Are зоря and зірка (used with the 'astronomical object' meaning) interchangeable in all contexts? For example: 1. Which word sound the most stylistically neutral? 2. Which word is more appropriate for an astronomy textbook? 3. Which word is more appropriate for indicating a star in the sky in an informal setting?
    – Lorents
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 7:53
  • @Lorents, for me it seems that the answer for all three questions would be "зірка". It looks the most neutral, the most applicable for scientific context and the most used in everyday speech. However I neither can provide any proofs nor can provide any estimation of degree to which зоря is less applicable.
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 8:25
  • 1
    thanks! So it seems that I could never go wrong using зірка.
    – Lorents
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 10:23

Stylistically "зірка" is more casual word, while "зоря" is more poetic. So you will hear "зірка" more often on an everyday basis.

E.g in sentences like "this flower looks like a star", "a chocolate bar with a star logo on it", "meet me by that monument with a star on top" - you would use "зірка" because "зоря" would sound too sophisticated for modern language.

The difference is less when we speak about actual stars in the sky. Maybe because the stars are always somehow poetic, you may use both words in the sentences like "that star is so bright!" or "look, a star is falling!". Though even in these cases "зірка" would sound more modern and casual.

You would not use "зоря" if you speak scientifically though. Like in "Sun is not the biggest star in the universe" - it's only "зірка".

Speaking about famous people you'll never hear "зоря" - it just doesn't make any sense.

All in all, most usage for word "зоря" you'll find in poetry or songs (including modern ones).

In most cases you can change "зоря" for more casual "зірка" without any damage to the meaning. The only case "зоря" has a unique meaning is when you are talking about sunrise or sunset.


Великий тлумачний словник сучасної української мови. Бусел. 2005.


  1. Те саме, що зірка.
  2. Пестливе звертання до дівчини, жінки.
  3. Яскраве освітлення горизонту перед сходом і після заходу сонця. Час появи на горизонті такого освітлення.
  4. Початок, зародження чого-небудь.
  5. переносне, рідко. Те саме, що зірка.
  6. рідко. Те саме, що зірка.


  1. Самоосвітне небесне тіло, що являє собою скупчення розжарених газів. Дрібні світні частинки; іскри.
  2. Про дуже видатну, прославлену людину.
  3. Геометрична фігура ...
  4. Садова рослина ...

Зоря, зірка.

  • 2
    The question was asked in English, so it is recommended to answer in English as well or, even better, make two sections of your answer, Ukrainian and English. Otherwise the entire answer may appear useless for the OP. Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 23:57
  • 2
    @bytebuster, on the other hand, I appreciate Andriy Ivanchenko for writing an answer anyway. I rate in the following way: (neutral) writing no answer, (better) writing an answer in unexpected language; (the best) writing an answer in the desired language. I.e. if an answerer isn't convenient enough with desired language, IMHO it's still good to write an answer in other one (and letting others to edit/translate/amend it).
    – Sasha
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 9:23
  • @Sasha, คุณพูดถูกครับ ขอตอบคุณในภาษาสุ่มทุกเวลา — hopefully, my response in an unexpected language was "unexpected" and "better" enough :-) Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 13:50
  • 1
    @bytebuster Буду вдячний, якщо додасте переклад англійською.
    – user1677
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 17:28
  • 2
    @bytebuster на цьому сайті дозволені лише дві, ви можете на власний вибирати будь-яку з них і відповідати неї. Але навіть, якщо б хтось хто не може писати жодною з цих мов зайшов і дав би якісну відповідь, наприклад, тайською, то я б переклав.
    – Yola
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 18:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.