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halo

[hey-loh]
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noun, plural ha·los, ha·loes.
  1. Also called nimbus. a geometric shape, usually in the form of a disk, circle, ring, or rayed structure, traditionally representing a radiant light around or above the head of a divine or sacred personage, an ancient or medieval monarch, etc.
  2. an atmosphere or quality of glory, majesty, sanctity, or the like: the halo around Shakespeare's works; She put a halo around her son.
  3. Meteorology. any of a variety of bright circles or arcs centered on the sun or moon, caused by the refraction or reflection of light by ice crystals suspended in the earth's atmosphere and exhibiting prismatic coloration ranging from red inside to blue outside (distinguished from corona).
  4. Astronomy. a spherical cloud of gas clusters and stars that form part of a spiral galaxy.
  5. an undesirable bright or dark ring surrounding an image on the fluorescent screen of a television tube, due to some fault either in transmission or reception.
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verb (used with object), ha·loed, ha·lo·ing.
  1. to surround with a halo.
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verb (used without object), ha·loed, ha·lo·ing.
  1. to form a halo.
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Origin of halo

1555–65; < Latin, accusative of halōs circle round sun or moon < Greek hálōs such a circle, disk, orig. threshing floor
Related formsun·ha·loed, adjective

halo-

  1. a combining form meaning “salt,” used in the formation of compound words (halophyte); sometimes specialized as a combining form of halogen (halothane).
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Also especially before a vowel, hal-.

Origin of halo-

< Greek, combining form of háls salt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for halo

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • In her eagerness, it was as if the halo of joy that surrounded her were quivering.

  • Her hair was soft and light, and formed a halo round her forehead.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • She placed him on a dizzy height above her, amid a halo of goodness and grandeur.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • There is always a ring of land round a town, like a halo round the moon.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • And the halo formed of those tears ennobled all she saw about her.

    The Wild Geese

    Stanley John Weyman


British Dictionary definitions for halo

halo

noun plural -loes or -los
  1. a disc or ring of light around the head of an angel, saint, etc, as in painting or sculpture
  2. the aura surrounding an idealized, famous, or admired person, thing, or event
  3. a circle of light around the sun or moon, caused by the refraction of light by particles of ice
  4. astronomy a spherical cloud of stars surrounding the Galaxy and other spiral galaxies
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verb -loes, -los, -loing or -loed
  1. to surround with or form a halo
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Derived Formshalo-like, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin, from Latin halōs circular threshing floor, from Greek

halo-

hali- or before a vowel hal-

combining form
  1. indicating salt or the seahalophyte
  2. relating to or containing a halogenhalothane
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Word Origin

from Greek hals, hal- sea, salt
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 halo

n.

1560s, from Latin halo (nominative halos), from Greek halos "disk of the sun or moon, ring of light around the sun or moon" (also "threshing floor" and "disk of a shield"), of unknown origin. Sense of "light around the head of a holy person or deity" first recorded 1640s. As a verb from 1801.

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halo-

before vowels hal-, word-forming element meaning "salt, sea," from Greek hals (genitive halos) "a lump of salt, salt generally," in Homer, "the sea," from PIE *sal- "salt" (see salt (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

halo in Medicine

halo

(hālō)
n. pl. ha•los
  1. A reddish yellow ring surrounding the optic disk, caused by an expansion of the scleral ring that makes the deeper structures visible.
  2. Glaucomatous halo.
  3. A ring of light surrounding a luminous body.
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halo-

pref.
  1. Salt:halophilic.
  2. Halogen:halide.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

halo in Science

halo

[hālō]
  1. A hazy ring of colored light in the sky around the Sun, Moon, or a similar bright object. A halo is caused by the reflection and refraction of light through atmospheric ice crystals.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.