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Word of the Day
Friday, August 11, 2017

Definitions for nimbus

  1. a cloud, aura, atmosphere, etc., surrounding a person or thing: The candidate was encompassed with a nimbus of fame.
  2. Classical Mythology. a shining cloud sometimes surrounding a deity when on earth.
  3. halo.

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Citations for nimbus
... it was a lost town and yet it was haloed with the invincible nimbus of mystery ... Roberto Bolaño, Woes of the True Policeman, translated by Natasha Wimmer, 2012
But the night I met him in John O'Brien's Dawson saloon, his head was wreathed in a nimbus of fifty-cent cigar smoke ... Jack London, "A Hyperborean Brew," The Faith of Men and Other Stories, 1904
Origin of nimbus
Latin nimbus and nebula (“cloud, mist”) both derive from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root enebh- or nebh- (with many variations, e.g., nembh-) “cloud, fog, mist.” A simple variant of this root, nebh-, is the source of Greek néphos “cloud,” Slavic (Polish) niebo “sky, heaven,” and Hittite nebis “sky, heaven.” The variant nembh- is the source of Latin nimbus “violent rainstorm, thundercloud,” but also “cloud (in general)” and finally “bright cloud that envelops a deity appearing to mortals,” which in Christian usage comes to mean “saint’s halo or aureole.” Nimbus entered English in the early 17th century.