[ uh-rawr-uh, uh-rohr-uh ]
/ əˈrɔr ə, əˈroʊr ə /

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.



Let the aeolian gusts transport you back to these popular Words of the Day from the month of May. How many do you remember?
Question 1 of 10
Which of the following words means “to travel or journey, especially to walk on foot”?

Origin of Aurora

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin aurōra dawn, dawn goddess, east Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for aurorae (1 of 3)

/ (ɔːˈrɔːrə) /

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 forms of aurora

auroral, adjectiveaurorally, adverb

Word Origin for aurora

C14: from Latin: dawn; see east

British Dictionary definitions for aurorae (2 of 3)

/ (ɔːˈrɔːrə) /


the Roman goddess of the dawnGreek counterpart: Eos
the dawn or rise of something

British Dictionary definitions for aurorae (3 of 3)

/ (ɔːˈrɔːrə) /


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

Scientific definitions for aurorae

[ ə-rôrə ]

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.