This question might be off-topic here, but concerning English usage.

We are translating some illustrated book for kids about astronomy, and then have a question as in the title.

Referring to Wikipedia etc., It appears that "binary stars" represents the star systems of two stars, whereas "multiple stars" does those of three or more stars.

Thus, our question is whether it is an abuse to use "multiple stars" for binary stars.

Simply, we don't know what to translate "multiple stars" into Japanese, because there is no one-to-one counterpart of words in Japanese.

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    Why not just say binary and other multiple star systems? Then you can use either one whenever you want. – John Lawler Jun 17 '16 at 18:09
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    @JohnLawler I'm sorry for insufficient explanation. We are translating some book from English to Japanese and there is a definition of multiple stars --"Multiple stars are made of three or more stars that revolve in orbits around one another"-- in the English book. In Japanese, however, we do not have a specific word which represents the star systems of three or more stars only but do a word which stands for both binary and other multiple star systems altogether. Thus, our question above arose. – Taiki Bessho Jun 17 '16 at 18:42
  • @JohnLawler This sounds like a similar question with a similar difficulty from Mr. Yoichi. [english.stackexchange.com/questions/315682/… ] – Cascabel Jun 17 '16 at 19:24
  • "Multiple-star systems are called triple, trinary or ternary if they contain three stars; quadruple or quaternary if they contain four stars; quintuple or quintenary with five stars; sextuple or sextenary with six stars; septuple or septenary with seven stars" (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_system). Do any of those have Japanese counterparts that will help you? I'm still unclear on the question. – GoldenGremlin Jun 17 '16 at 19:41
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    Yes, a binary star system is a multiple star system. Multiple can mean "more than one" (for example, two). – GoldenGremlin Jun 17 '16 at 19:44


All binary star systems are multiple star systems; not all multiple star systems are binary.

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