What exactly is a ‘celebrity’?

I’m a bit of a ‘word nerd’ and one word that’s plaguing me just now is ‘celebrity’ What exactly is a ‘celebrity’? It’s a much bandied word.

Where does a celebrity fit on the priority list of importance, worthiness or recognisability?

I have an awful feeling that I’ve walked past some without realising who they are...

Where are the lower and upper cut-off points in the ‘celebrityness’ chart? I know I’m not one so the minimum is above me.

Is being a minor celebrity something to celebrate or is it a curse? Is the next one up on the celebrity ladder ‘fame’ or being famous? Then going up even further to the stratosphere, is it national treasure?

Moving down again, where, for instance do local hero, neighbourhood watcher and Good Samaritan fit in?

Perhaps a Press wordsmith such as Helen Mead might enlighten me? Meanwhile, I won’t go all coy and anonymous but will sign this letter just in case there’s an outside chance...

Derek Reed, Middlethorpe Drive, York