Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An invisible breath, emanation, or radiation.
  • n. A distinctive but intangible quality that seems to surround a person or thing; atmosphere: An aura of defeat pervaded the candidate's headquarters.
  • n. Pathology A sensation, as of a cold breeze or a bright light, that precedes the onset of certain disorders, such as an epileptic seizure or an attack of migraine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Distinctive atmosphere or quality associated with something.
  • n. An invisible force surrounding a living creature.
  • n. Perceptual disturbance experienced by some migraine sufferers before a migraine headache.
  • n. Telltale sensation experienced by some people with epilepsy before a seizure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any subtile, invisible emanation, effluvium, or exhalation from a substance, as the aroma of flowers, the odor of the blood, a supposed fertilizing emanation from the pollen of flowers, etc.
  • n. The peculiar sensation, as of a light vapor, or cold air, rising from the trunk or limbs towards the head, a premonitory symptom of epilepsy or hysterics.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A supposed influence, force, or imponderable matter proceeding from a body and surrounding it as an atmosphere; specifically, an imponderable substance supposed to emanate from all living things, to consist of the subtle essence of the individual, and to be a means of manifesting what is called animal magnetism, and also a medium for the operation of alleged mesmeric, clairvoyant, and somnambulic powers. Also called nerve-aura, or nervaura.
  • n. Figuratively, atmosphere; air; character, etc.
  • n. A peculiar sensation resembling that produced by a current of air. See epileptic aura, below.
  • n. An old native name of any South American vulture excepting the condor; an urubu, tzopilotl, gallinazo, turkey-buzzard, or carrion-crow.
  • n. [capitalized] In Greek myth, a personification of the lighter winds or breezes, the divinities of the air.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sensation (as of a cold breeze or bright light) that precedes the onset of certain disorders such as a migraine attack or epileptic seizure
  • n. a distinctive but intangible quality surrounding a person or thing
  • n. an indication of radiant light drawn around the head of a saint

Etymologies

Middle English, gentle breeze, from Latin, from Greek aurā, breath.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin aura ("a breeze, a breath of air, the air"), from Ancient Greek αὔρα (aura, "breeze, soft wind"), from ἀήρ (aēr, "air"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A standstill, to which the suspicious word "communication" lends a certain aura, is making headway.

    Nobel Lecture - Literature 1999

  • She will wear instead what she refers to as an aura blue dress.

    Water Witches

  • The word aura, which is of Latin origin and first appeared in the 1300s, means gentle breeze or breath of air.

    The Student Operated Press

  • If you click on that "aura" link, you'll see that the visual aura is often associated with loss of visual fields, a condition that could be caused by oxygen deprivation to visual centers in the brain.

    Medpundit

  • The "aura" is created not by the object but by the belief in the object as authentic and unique.

    Introduction

  • That gave his tenure in Congress an aura from the very start: On the one hand, Democrats hailed him as an emblem of the breadth of their victories in 2008; on the other, he was instantly branded a top target for 2010 by Republicans who promised to retire him after a single term.

    For better or for worse, Va's Perriello wins Obama's cheers

  • Kim Cattrall and Jeffery Kissoon are cleverly cast, since each carries an aura from a previous role that lends lustre to the part they play: he as the great warrior Karna from Peter Brook's Mahabharata and she as Samantha, Sex and the City's love 'em and leave 'em, 40-something vamp.

    Antony and Cleopatra – review

  • About 20% of patients have what is known as an aura, which precedes the painful headache phase of a migraine, Bartleson says.

    Migraine therapy advances with drugs, clue to causes

  • Besides the obvious benefits of the mailing list and the attention that he has received, secrets carry with them a certain aura and excitement.

    Bayh, Kaine and Dodd Are Out; Obama’s Announcement on Saturday - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Robert Cashill on The Aura: "[Fabian] Bielinsky's attempt to create the fugue-state experience of an aura is admirable; to judge from my experience, it may have worked too well."

    GreenCine Daily: Shorts, 11/12.

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  • Jake in reverie at a stately pace, yes, but with aura madly vigilant, trip-switched, motion-sensored, hair-triggered, so that when the figure launched itself from the trees' murk I was ludicrously ready. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 3, 2012