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[uh-rawr-uh, uh-rohr-uh] /əˈrɔr ə, əˈroʊr ə/
noun, plural auroras, aurorae
[uh-rawr-ee, uh-rohr-ee] /əˈrɔr i, əˈroʊr i/ (Show IPA),
for defs 2, 3.
the ancient Roman goddess of the dawn.
Compare Eos.
(lowercase) dawn.
(lowercase) Meteorology. a radiant emission from the upper atmosphere that occurs sporadically over the middle and high latitudes of both hemispheres in the form of luminous bands, streamers, or the like, caused by the bombardment of the atmosphere with charged solar particles that are being guided along the earth's magnetic lines of force.
a city in central Colorado, near Denver.
a city in NE Illinois.
a female given name.
Origin of Aurora
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin aurōra dawn, dawn goddess, east Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Aurora
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On the 16th of April the 'Aurora' dropped anchor in the harbour of Zanzibar.

    Freeland Theodor Hertzka
  • Then Aurora saw that Tithonus was growing into a little old man.

    Classic Myths Mary Catherine Judd
  • The Aurora, like a hundred searchlights, was whipping across the sky.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • The gang-plank was hauled in, and the Aurora swung out from the bank.

    White Fang Jack London
  • Already has not its Aurora brightened the tops of my snow-covered mountains?

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for Aurora


noun (pl) -ras, -rae (-riː)
an atmospheric phenomenon consisting of bands, curtains, or streamers of light, usually green, red, or yellow, that move across the sky in polar regions. It is caused by collisions between air molecules and charged particles from the sun that are trapped in the earth's magnetic field
(poetic) the dawn
Derived Forms
auroral, adjective
aurorally, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin: dawn; see east


the Roman goddess of the dawn Greek counterpart Eos
the dawn or rise of something


another name for Maewo
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Aurora



late 14c., from Latin Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, from PIE *ausus- "dawn," also the name of the Indo-European goddess of the dawn, from root *aus- "to shine," especially of the dawn (cf. Greek eos "dawn," auein "to dry, kindle;" Sanskrit usah, Lithuanian ausra "dawn;" Latin auster "south wind," usum "to burn;" Old English east "east").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Aurora in Science
Plural auroras or aurorae (ə-rôr'ē)
A brilliant display of bands or folds of variously colored light in the sky at night, especially in polar regions. Charged particles from the solar wind are channeled through the Earth's magnetic field into the polar regions. There the particles collide with atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, ionizing them and making them glow. Auroras are of greatest intensity and extent during periods of increased sunspot activity, when they often interfere with telecommunications on Earth. ◇ An aurora that occurs in southern latitudes is called an aurora australis (ô-strā'lĭs) or southern lights. When it occurs in northern latitudes it is called an aurora borealis (bôr'ē-āl'ĭs) or northern lights. See also magnetic storm.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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