from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A luminous ring or disk of light surrounding the heads or bodies of sacred figures, such as saints, in religious paintings; a nimbus.
  • noun A ring or disk resembling the halo of a sacred figure.
  • noun A feeling of glory, reverence, or admiration associated with a person or thing.
  • noun A circular band of colored light around a light source, as around the sun or moon, caused by the refraction and reflection of light by ice particles suspended in the intervening atmosphere.
  • noun A roughly spherical region of relatively dust-free space surrounding a galaxy and extending beyond the visible parts of the galaxy. Galactic halos contain stars (often located in globular clusters), gas, and dark matter.
  • transitive verb To encircle with a halo.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To form a halo.
  • To surround with a halo.
  • noun A luminous circle, either white or colored, seen round the sun or moon, and commonly of 22° or of 46° radius, the definite radii depending on the definite angles of ice-crystals.
  • noun A circle of light, as the nimbus surrounding the head of a saint. See nimbus.
  • noun A brownish circle round the nipple; an areola.
  • noun Pl. halones (hal′ ō˙-nēz). In ornithology, certain chiefly concentric rings of color in the yolk of an egg: an optical appearance due to the deposition of the yolk in successive layers or strata.
  • noun Figuratively, an ideal glow or glory investing an object as viewed through the medium of feeling or sentiment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A luminous circle, usually prismatically colored, round the sun or moon, and supposed to be caused by the refraction of light through crystals of ice in the atmosphere. Connected with halos there are often white bands, crosses, or arches, resulting from the same atmospheric conditions.
  • noun A circle of light; especially, the bright ring represented in painting as surrounding the heads of saints and other holy persons; a glory; a nimbus.
  • noun An ideal glory investing, or affecting one's perception of, an object.
  • noun A colored circle around a nipple; an areola.
  • verb To form, or surround with, a halo; to encircle with, or as with, a halo.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun astronomy A circular band of coloured light, visible around the sun or moon etc., caused by reflection and refraction of light by ice crystals in the atmosphere.
  • noun astronomy A cloud of gas and other matter surrounding and captured by the gravitational field of a large diffuse astronomical object, such as a galaxy or cluster of galaxies.
  • noun Anything resembling this band, such as an effect caused by imperfect developing of photographs.
  • noun religion nimbus, a luminous disc, often of gold, around or over the heads of saints, etc., in religious paintings.
  • noun The metaphorical aura of glory, veneration or sentiment which surrounds an idealized entity.
  • verb transitive To encircle with a halo.

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

  • noun a toroidal shape
  • noun a circle of light around the sun or moon
  • noun an indication of radiant light drawn around the head of a saint


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

[Medieval Latin halō, from accusative of Latin halōs, from Greek, threshing floor, disk of or around the sun or moon.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin halos, from Ancient Greek ἅλως (hálōs, "disk of the sun or moon, ring of light around the sun or moon"), (also  ("threshing floor") and  ("disk of a shield")), itself of unknown origin, possibly derived from Arabic هالة [] (hâla, circle around moon seen at nights due to vapors). Used in English since 1563, sense of light around someone’s head since 1646.


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  • HALO (all caps) stands for High Altitude Low Opening. (See also PJ, the pipeline for more info.)

    "HALO stands for High Altitude Low Opening; it's used to drop PJs into hot areas where a more leisurely deployment would get them all killed. In terms of violating the constraints of the physical world, HALO jumping is one of the more outlandish things human beings have ever done. The PJs jump from so high up—as high as 40,000 feet—that they need bottled oxygen to breathe. They leave the aircraft with two oxygen bottles strapped to their sides, a parachute on their back, a reserve 'chute on their chest, a full medical pack on their thighs, and an M-16 on their harness. They're at the top of the troposphere—the layer where weather happens—and all they can hear is the scream of their own velocity. They're so high up that they freefall for two or three minutes and pull their 'chutes at a thousand feet or less. That way, they're almost impossible to kill."

    —Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm, 1997 (NY: HarperCollins, 1999), 177

    September 8, 2009

  • halo, n.

    The Guardian, 25 January 2016:

    Formula One drivers are calling for a new safety device to be installed in their cockpits from 2017, hoping the so-called halo will prevent serious injury from flying debris.

    February 2, 2016