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[hey-loh] /ˈheɪ loʊ/
noun, plural halos, haloes.
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.
an atmosphere or quality of glory, majesty, sanctity, or the like:
the halo around Shakespeare's works; She put a halo around her son.
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).
Astronomy. a spherical cloud of gas clusters and stars that form part of a spiral galaxy.
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.
verb (used with object), haloed, haloing.
to surround with a halo.
verb (used without object), haloed, haloing.
to form a halo.
Origin of halo
1555-65; < Latin, accusative of halōs circle round sun or moon < Greek hálōs such a circle, disk, orig. threshing floor
Related forms
unhaloed, adjective


a combining form meaning “salt,” used in the formation of compound words (halophyte); sometimes specialized as a combining form of halogen (halothane).
Also, especially before a vowel, hal-.
< Greek, combining form of háls salt Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for halo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On the left, on a hill above the lake, a woman (with the moon as halo) gives birth to a child.

    Bygone Beliefs H. Stanley Redgrove
  • She placed him on a dizzy height above her, amid a halo of goodness and grandeur.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • With unexpected strength he raised himself, and reached for the dish, which floated before him in a halo made by its own steam.

    The Shape of Fear Elia W. Peattie
  • There is always a ring of land round a town, like a halo round the moon.

    Another Sheaf John Galsworthy
  • They walked with their heads high, erect and smiling, radiating such happiness that they seemed to walk in a halo.

    Doctor Pascal Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for halo


noun (pl) -loes, -los
a disc or ring of light around the head of an angel, saint, etc, as in painting or sculpture
the aura surrounding an idealized, famous, or admired person, thing, or event
a circle of light around the sun or moon, caused by the refraction of light by particles of ice
(astronomy) a spherical cloud of stars surrounding the Galaxy and other spiral galaxies
verb -loes, -los, -loing, -loed
to surround with or form a halo
Derived Forms
halo-like, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin, from Latin halōs circular threshing floor, from Greek


combining form
indicating salt or the sea: halophyte
relating to or containing a halogen: halothane
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
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Word Origin and History for halo

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.


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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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halo in Medicine

halo ha·lo (hā'lō)
n. pl. ha·los or ha·loes

  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.

halo- or hal-

  1. Salt: halophilic.

  2. Halogen: halide.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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halo in Science
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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