An asterisk (*; Late Latin: asteriscus, from Greek: ἀστερίσκος, asteriskos, "little star") is a typographical symbol or glyph. It is so called because it resembles a conventional image of a star. Computer scientists and mathematicians often pronounce it as star (as, for example, in the A* search algorithm or C*-algebra), or, more informally, splat. In English, an asterisk is usually five-pointed in sans-serif typefaces, six-pointed in serif typefaces, and six- or eight-pointed when handwritten. It can be used to censor out swear words or objectionable text.
The asterisk is derived from the need of the printers of family trees in feudal times for a symbol to indicate date of birth. The original shape was seven-armed, each arm like a teardrop shooting from the center.
In computer science, the asterisk is commonly used as a wildcard character, or to denote pointers, repetition, or multiplication.
Read more about Asterisk: Encodings