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[nim-buh s] /ˈnɪm bəs/
noun, plural nimbi
[nim-buh bahy] /ˈnɪm bəbaɪ/ (Show IPA),
Classical Mythology. a shining cloud sometimes surrounding a deity when on earth.
a cloud, aura, atmosphere, etc., surrounding a person or thing:
The candidate was encompassed with a nimbus of fame.
halo (def 1).
the type of dense clouds or cloud mass with ragged edges, that yields rain or snow; a rain cloud.
(initial capital letter) U.S. Aerospace. one of a series of polar-orbiting meteorological and environmental research satellites, the last of which Nimbus 7, launched 1978, was the first satellite designed to monitor atmospheric pollutants.
Origin of nimbus
1610-20; < Latin: a rainstorm, rain cloud, thundercloud, cloud; akin to Latin nebula and Greek nephélē, néphos cloud
Related forms
nimbused, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for nimbus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was like a thunderbolt in a nimbus—the rush of Flagg down the mountain.

  • He puffed quietly until his head was surrounded by a nimbus of smoke.

    Pandemic Jesse Franklin Bone
  • The nimbus of the saint in his eyes, was associated with the crown of martyrdom.

    The Little Savage Captain Frederick Marryat
  • Above is a nimbus of clouds, and above the nimbus, the weighing of souls.

  • The gas-lights have no heart in them, and each wears a nimbus.

    Somehow Good William de Morgan
  • Moreover these figures in Yucatan have a nimbus too, just like the Buddhas.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • A sword—a crown—the nimbus of a saint: imagination might play untrammelled.

    Sophy of Kravonia Anthony Hope
  • It wears a crown, and a glory of daggers is the nimbus about its head!

  • Golden tresses like a nimbus of glory adorned her queenly head.

    The Broken Sword Dennison Worthington
British Dictionary definitions for nimbus


noun (pl) -bi (-baɪ), -buses
  1. a dark grey rain-bearing cloud
  2. (in combination): cumulonimbus clouds
  1. an emanation of light surrounding a saint or deity
  2. a representation of this emanation
a surrounding aura or atmosphere
Derived Forms
nimbused, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: cloud, radiance
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 nimbus

1610s, "bright cloud surrounding a god," from Latin nimbus "cloud," perhaps related to nebula "cloud, mist" (see nebula). Meaning "halo" is first recorded c.1730. Meteorological sense of "a rain cloud" is from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nimbus in Science
Plural nimbi (nĭm'bī') or nimbuses
A rain cloud.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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