[uh-rawr-uh, uh-rohr-uh]

noun, plural au·ro·ras, au·ro·rae [uh-rawr-ee, uh-rohr-ee] /əˈrɔr i, əˈroʊr i/ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for aurora

dawn, eos

Examples from the Web for aurora

Contemporary Examples of aurora

Historical Examples of aurora

  • On the 16th of April the 'Aurora' dropped anchor in the harbour of Zanzibar.


    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 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 plural -ras or -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 Formsauroral, adjectiveaurorally, adverb

Word Origin for aurora

C14: from Latin: dawn; see east




the Roman goddess of the dawnGreek 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

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

aurora in Science



Plural auroras aurorae (ə-rôrē)

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-strālĭs) or southern lights. When it occurs in northern latitudes it is called an aurora borealis (bôr′ē-ălĭs) or northern lights. See also magnetic storm.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.