AFAIK , hoshi 星 means both star and planet (except for the sun and the moon), when 惑星 means only planet. is there any word to refer to stars only?


Even the word "star" in English can embrace planets (and other objects such as in "falling star") too, after all planets have in the past also been called wandering stars. In fact, the etymology of planet is to wander.

There is a term which, in Japanese, refers to fixed stars, 恒星{こうせい}. This is probably the term you are then looking for. I suspect (I'm not a native speaker) that this is a somewhat Intechnical term. But, I also believe that when one says星{ほし}, what comes to mind for most listeners will be just what we think of as "star".

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  • But a falling star is a meteor, not a planet. Did you mean it's used to refer to rocky bodies too? – Pablo Jun 28 '17 at 22:02
  • @Pablo I'm just pointing out that the word "star" in English has the potential to refer to things we currently in the modern era don't regard any more as stars. I believe the same holds for Japanese regarding 星 – A.Ellett Jun 28 '17 at 22:04
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    The people who first called meteors and planets stars knew little of what we know about their composition or make up. – A.Ellett Jun 28 '17 at 22:05
  • If you think about it, it's not that 星 in particular means "star" or "planet", it might be that the meaning is closer to "celestial body". But, if you're an earthling looking up at the night sky, each of the "stars" you see would be called 星 and objects of that nature would also be described as 星 such as a comet ほうき星, a shooting star 流れ星, planets 惑星 and so on. If your intent is to describe a star-shape, you might want to use the loanword スター instead. – psosuna Jun 28 '17 at 22:42
  • Even the word "star" in English can embrace planets Uh, really? I don't know where you live, but I can hardly accept that anyone uses these interchangeably. – istrasci Jul 26 '18 at 15:19

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