[ pahr-hee-lee-uh n, -heel-yuh n ]
/ pɑrˈhi li ən, -ˈhil yən /

noun, plural par·he·li·a [pahr-hee-lee-uh, -heel-yuh] /pɑrˈhi li ə, -ˈhil yə/. Meteorology.

a bright circular spot on a solar halo; a mock sun: usually one of two or more such spots seen on opposite sides of the sun, and often accompanied by additional luminous arcs and bands.


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Compare paraselene.

Origin of parhelion

1640–50; alteration of Latin parēlion < Greek parḗlion, noun use of neuter of parḗlios beside the sun. See par-, helio-
Also called sundog.


par·he·lic, par·he·li·a·cal [pahr-hi-lahy-uh-kuh l] /ˌpɑr hɪˈlaɪ ə kəl/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for parhelion

British Dictionary definitions for parhelion

/ (pɑːˈhiːlɪən) /

noun plural -lia (-lɪə)

one of several bright spots on the parhelic circle or solar halo, caused by the diffraction of light by ice crystals in the atmosphere, esp around sunsetAlso called: mock sun, sundog Compare anthelion

Derived forms of parhelion

parhelic (pɑːˈhiːlɪk, -ˈhɛlɪk) or parheliacal (ˌpɑːhɪˈlaɪəkəl), adjective

Word Origin for parhelion

C17: via Latin from Greek parēlion, from para- 1 (beside) + hēlios sun
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 parhelion

[ pär-hēlē-ən ]

Plural parhelia

A white spot appearing at times in the parhelic circle. White parhelia are believed to form from light that is reflected off of atmospheric ice crystals; colored parhelia are believed to form from light that is refracted by atmospheric ice crystals. Multiple parhelia can often be seen simultaneously. Compare anthelion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.