aurora borealis

aurora borealis

[bawr-ee-al-is, -ey-lis, bohr-]
noun Meteorology.
the aurora of the Northern Hemisphere.
Also called northern lights, aurora polaris.

1621; < Neo-Latin: northern aurora; see boreal Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
aurora borealis (ˌbɔːrɪˈeɪlɪs)
(sometimes capital) Also called: northern lights the aurora seen around the North Pole
[C17: New Latin: northern aurora]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Main Entry:  aurora borealis
Part of Speech:  adj
Definition:  See borealis's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

aurora borealis
1620s, "Northern Lights," lit. "northern dawn," said to have been coined by Fr. philosopher Petrus Gassendus (15921655) 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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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