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aurora borealis

Definitions

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

  • n. An aurora that occurs in northern regions of the earth. Also called northern lights.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The aurora of the northern hemisphere

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A luminous meteoric phenomenon, visible only at night, and supposed to be of electrical origin. This species of light usually appears in streams, ascending toward the zenith from a dusky line or bank, a few degrees above the northern horizon; when reaching south beyond the zenith, it forms what is called the corona, about a spot in the heavens toward which the dipping needle points. Occasionally the aurora appears as an arch of light across the heavens from east to west. Sometimes it assumes a wavy appearance, and the streams of light are then called merry dancers. They assume a variety of colors, from a pale red or yellow to a deep red or blood color.

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

  • n. the aurora of the northern hemisphere

Etymologies

New Latin aurōra boreālis : Latin aurōra, dawn + Latin boreālis, northern.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From New Latin aurora borealis, from Latin Aurora ("Roman goddess of the dawn") + borealis ("northern") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • aurora borealis, a geomagnetic phenomenon that's also known as the northern lights, is something we usually think of as occurring in, well, the north: Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and areas of northern Canada are famous for dazzling displays of red, green and orange lights, especially in the winter months.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • aurora borealis is very important to the story, Mr. Naime said.

    NYT > Home Page

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Comments

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  • named after the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas

    February 24, 2008