aurora borealis

[ bawr-ee-al-is, -ey-lis, bohr- ]
/ ˌbɔr iˈæl ɪs, -ˈeɪ lɪs, ˌboʊr- /

noun Meteorology.

the aurora of the Northern Hemisphere.

Origin of aurora borealis

1621; < New Latin: northern aurora; see boreal
Also called northern lights, aurora polaris. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aurora borealis

  • Such kind of talk, wherever it may be, is only like the aurora-borealis, or like dissolving views which for the moment please.

    Talkers|John Bate

British Dictionary definitions for aurora borealis

aurora borealis

/ (ˌbɔːrɪˈeɪlɪs) /


(sometimes capital) the aurora seen around the North PoleAlso called: northern lights

Word Origin for aurora borealis

C17: New Latin: northern aurora
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

Culture definitions for aurora borealis

aurora borealis

[ (uh-rawr-uh bawr-ee-al-is) ]

A display of colored lights in the sky, also called northern lights, caused by the interaction of particles from the sun with the upper atmosphere near the North Pole. A similar display, called the aurora australis, occurs in the atmosphere above the South Pole.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.