follow Dictionary.com

What is the X in X-mas?

nimbus

[nim-buh s] /ˈnɪm bəs/
noun, plural nimbi
[nim-buh bahy] /ˈnɪm bəbaɪ/ (Show IPA),
nimbuses.
1.
Classical Mythology. a shining cloud sometimes surrounding a deity when on earth.
2.
a cloud, aura, atmosphere, etc., surrounding a person or thing:
The candidate was encompassed with a nimbus of fame.
3.
halo (def 1).
4.
the type of dense clouds or cloud mass with ragged edges, that yields rain or snow; a rain cloud.
5.
(initial capital letter) U.S. Aerospace. one of a series of polar-orbiting meteorological and environmental research satellites, the last of which Nimbus 7, launched 1978, was the first satellite designed to monitor atmospheric pollutants.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20; < Latin: a rainstorm, rain cloud, thundercloud, cloud; akin to Latin nebula and Greek nephélē, néphos cloud
Related forms
nimbused, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for nimbus
  • First, you have to figure out it's not the sound-alike acronym, it's the plural of nimbus.
  • And a giddy nimbus of wannabes surrounded these regal figures and basked in their company.
  • Even viewed through a nimbus of nostalgia, the replay loop gets old.
  • Each has an aura, and together they radiate a veritable nimbus.
  • He dissolves his characters and events into a nimbus of sentiment.
British Dictionary definitions for nimbus

nimbus

/ˈnɪmbəs/
noun (pl) -bi (-baɪ), -buses
1.
  1. a dark grey rain-bearing cloud
  2. (in combination): cumulonimbus clouds
2.
  1. an emanation of light surrounding a saint or deity
  2. a representation of this emanation
3.
a surrounding aura or atmosphere
Derived Forms
nimbused, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: cloud, radiance
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for nimbus
n.

1610s, "bright cloud surrounding a god," from Latin nimbus "cloud," perhaps related to nebula "cloud, mist" (see nebula). Meaning "halo" is first recorded c.1730. Meteorological sense of "a rain cloud" is from 1803.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
nimbus in Science
nimbus
  (nĭm'bəs)   
Plural nimbi (nĭm'bī') or nimbuses
A rain cloud.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for nimbus

in art, radiant circle or disk surrounding the head of a holy person, a representation of spiritual character through the symbolism of light. In Hellenistic and Roman art the sun-god Helios and Roman emperors often appear with a crown of rays. Because of its pagan origin, the form was avoided in Early Christian art, but a simple circular nimbus was adopted by Christian emperors for their official portraits. From the middle of the 4th century, Christ was also shown with this imperial attribute, as was his symbol, the Lamb of God, from the end of the 4th century. In the 5th century it was sometimes given to angels, but it was not until the 6th century that the halo became customary for the Virgin Mary and other saints. For a period during the 5th century, living persons of eminence were depicted with a square nimbus.

Learn more about nimbus with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for nimbus

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for nimbus

10
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with nimbus

Nearby words for nimbus