Old English steorra, from Proto-Germanic *sterron, *sternon (cf. Old Saxon sterro, Old Norse stjarna, Old Frisian stera, Dutch ster, Old High German sterro, German Stern, Gothic stairno), from PIE *ster- (cf. Sanskrit star-, Hittite shittar, Greek aster, astron, Latin stella, Breton sterenn, Welsh seren "star").
Astrological sense of "influence of planets and zodiac on human affairs" is recorded from mid-13c.; star-crossed is from "Romeo and Juliet" (1592). Stars as a ranking of quality for hotels, restaurants, etc. are attested from 1886, originally in Baedecker guides. Brass star as a police badge is recorded from 1859 (New York City).