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aurora borealis

[bawr-ee-al-is, -ey-lis, bohr-] /ˌbɔr iˈæl ɪs, -ˈeɪ lɪs, ˌboʊr-/
noun, Meteorology
the aurora of the Northern Hemisphere.
Also called northern lights, aurora polaris.
Origin of aurora borealis
1621; < New Latin: northern aurora; see boreal Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for aurora borealis

aurora borealis

(sometimes capital) the aurora seen around the North Pole Also called northern lights
Word Origin
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
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Contemporary definitions for aurora borealis

See borealis's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for aurora borealis

1620s, "Northern Lights," literally "northern dawn," said to have been coined by French philosopher Petrus Gassendus (1592-1655) after a spectacular display seen in France Sept. 2, 1621; see aurora + boreal. In northern Scotland and among sailors, sometimes called the dancers or the merry dancers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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aurora borealis in Culture
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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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