au·​ra ˈȯr-ə How to pronounce aura (audio)
: a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source
The place had an aura of mystery.
: a subtle sensory stimulus (such as an aroma)
medical : a subjective (see subjective entry 1 sense 4b) sensation (as of voices, colored lights, or crawling and numbness) experienced at the onset of a neurological condition and especially a migraine or epileptic seizure
: an energy field that is held to emanate from a living being
: a luminous radiation : nimbus

Examples of aura in a Sentence

the monastery perched high on a mountaintop had an aura of unreality and mystery about it alternative medical treatments that rely on the practitioner's ability to detect a patient's aura
Recent Examples on the Web Experts also worry that the aura of nastiness and even danger attached to election work will drive away volunteers, many of them older Americans, who are essential to elections in all states except the handful in which residents largely vote by mail. Michael Wines, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2023 In 1979, when leadership of the paper passed to Katharine’s son Donald, the aura carried, too. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2023 Though no other song on Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes shares those distinctively chirpy flutes and recorders, its bittersweet aura carries through the rest of the album. Al Shipley, SPIN, 21 Nov. 2023 Turns out, the majority of my aura was orange and yellow, which Kim said generally represents creative energy and optimism, but then the area around my stomach was green, which signifies healing. Annie Daly, Vogue, 17 Nov. 2023 The aura of goodwill generated by the meeting was marred somewhat, however, by a comment by Biden. Christopher Bodeen, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2023 Twentieth century smog shrouded them, giving them a filthy aura. Myriam Gurba, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 These types of symptoms include rising sensation in the stomach or déjà vu (feeling of familiarity), olfactory aura (pleasant or unpleasant smell), and visual or auditory hallucination, Nemade explained. Michelle Pugle, Health, 7 Nov. 2023 There’s a special thrill when a production manages to transfigure an old space like the Connelly, with its aura of gas lamps and ghost lights. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 19 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aura.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin, puff of air, breeze, from Greek; probably akin to Greek aēr air

First Known Use

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of aura was in 1686

Dictionary Entries Near aura

Cite this Entry

“Aura.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


au·​ra ˈȯr-ə How to pronounce aura (audio)
: a special quality or impression associated with something
an aura of holiness

Medical Definition


au·​ra ˈȯr-ə How to pronounce aura (audio)
plural auras also aurae -ē How to pronounce aura (audio)
: a subjective sensation (as of voices or colored lights or crawling and numbness) experienced at the onset of a neurological condition and especially a migraine or epileptic seizure
About 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience an aura as the first symptom of an attack. The aura may be a pulsing star of light, or a dance of geometric forms across the visual field, sometimes turning into hallucinations …Natalie Angier, The New York Times
The migraine aura, which consists of episodes of well-defined, transient, focal neurologic dysfunction, develops over the course of more than 4 minutes and usually lasts no more than 60 minutes.Sid Gilman, The New England Journal of Medicine
The aura is due to electrical activity originating from the seizure focus and thus represents the earliest manifestations of a partial seizure.Gary L. Westbrook, in Principles of Neural Science, 4th edition

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