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Stared vs. Starred: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 2, 2023
"Stared" is the past tense of the verb "to stare," meaning to look fixedly at something. "Starred" is the past tense of "to star," meaning to feature as a prominent performer or participant.

Key Differences

"Stared" is the past tense and past participle of the verb "to stare," which describes the act of looking intently or fixedly at something without blinking. It is an action that anyone can perform, regardless of context. On the other hand, "starred" is the past tense of the verb "to star," often used in the context of entertainment to signify a leading role in a performance. This is a term that implies prominence or centrality in an event or presentation.
The word "stared" is more universally applicable, meaning that you can stare at an object, a person, or even into space. The action is singular and requires only the person doing the staring. In contrast, "starred" implies a larger context—typically a production or event—in which one takes a leading or featured role.
While "stared" is often associated with a passive or observational action, "starred" denotes an active, participatory role. For instance, you might have stared at a beautiful painting, but you could have starred in a theatrical production. "Stared" doesn't necessarily imply any special talent, whereas "starred" often does.
Another critical difference between "stared" and "starred" is their grammatical usage. "Stared" is a verb and is commonly used to describe an action in a sentence. "Starred," while also a verb, often requires a complementary noun to specify the production or event in which someone starred. For example, "He starred in a movie."

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Entertainment/Special Events

Action Type


Implies Special Role


Grammatical Complements

Rarely requires additional information
Often requires additional information

Stared and Starred Definitions


To watch closely or curiously.
He stared at the curious object.


To perform as a leading role in a production.
She starred in a Broadway musical.


To look intently at something.
She stared at the painting.


To mark with a star symbol, often for importance or quality.
The movie was starred in the guide.


To gaze fixedly, often without blinking.
He stared into space.


A celestial body that generates light and other radiant energy and consists of a mass of gas held together by its own gravity in which the energy generated by nuclear reactions in the interior is balanced by the outflow of energy to the surface, and the inward-directed gravitational forces are balanced by the outward-directed gas and radiation pressures.


To direct one's eyes toward someone or something.
They stared at each other.


Any of the celestial bodies visible at night from Earth as relatively stationary, usually twinkling points of light.


To look at something for an extended period.
I stared at the equation, trying to solve it.


Something regarded as resembling such a celestial body.


To look directly, fixedly, or vacantly, often with a wide-eyed gaze.


A graphic design having five or more radiating points, often used as a symbol of rank or merit.


To look at directly and fixedly
Stared him in the eyes.


An artistic performer or athlete whose leading role or superior performance is acknowledged.


An intent gaze.


One who is highly celebrated in a field or profession.


Simple past tense and past participle of stare


An asterisk (*).


The star key on a telephone
For customer service, press star.


A white spot on the forehead of a horse.


A planet or constellation of the zodiac believed in astrology to influence personal destiny.


Stars The future; destiny. Often used with the.


Outstanding or famous, especially in performing something
A star researcher.
A star figure skater.


Of or relating to a star or stars.


To ornament with stars.


To award or mark with a star for excellence.


To mark with an asterisk.


To present or feature (a performer) in a leading role.


To play the leading role in a theatrical or film production.


To do an outstanding job; perform excellently.


Simple past tense and past participle of star


Having a star or stars.
A Michelin-starred restaurant


Adorned or studded with stars; bespangled.


Influenced in fortune by the stars.
My third comfort,Starred most unluckily.


Marked with an asterisk;
The starred items


To feature prominently in an event or situation.
He starred in the championship game.


To play the main role in a film, play, or show.
They starred in a sitcom together.


To be the central figure or point of interest.
The recipe starred fresh vegetables.


What does stared mean?

Stared is the past tense of the verb "to stare," which means to look fixedly at something.

What does starred mean?

Starred is the past tense of "to star," indicating a prominent role in a performance or event.

Does starred always refer to entertainment?

Mostly, but it can also refer to being prominently featured in other contexts.

Is staring always passive?

Generally, staring is considered a passive action.

Can stared imply a special role?

No, stared is usually a passive action and doesn't imply a special role.

Can you stare at an event?

You can stare at something occurring at an event, but you don't stare "in" an event.

Can you star at an object?

No, you can't "star" at an object; you star "in" a production or event.

Is starring an active role?

Yes, starring typically implies an active, prominent role.

Is stared a verb?

Yes, stared is a verb.

Is starred a verb?

Yes, starred is also a verb.

Can both words be used interchangeably?

No, stared and starred have distinct meanings and applications.

Is stared applicable in entertainment contexts?

It can be, but it doesn't imply a special role like "starred" does.

Is starring applicable in general contexts?

Rarely, it's mostly used to signify a special or leading role.

Do you need additional information with stared?

Rarely, the verb "stared" usually stands alone.

Do you need additional information with starred?

Often, as it usually specifies the production or event in which someone starred.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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