au·​ra | \ˈȯr-ə \

Definition of aura 

1a : a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source The place had an aura of mystery.

b : a subtle sensory stimulus (such as an aroma)

2 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

3 : an energy field that is held to emanate from a living being

4 : a luminous radiation : nimbus

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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

There’s a physicality and vocal aura that Brandon Lee imbued the character with that seems to transcend film and take on an almost supernatural quality. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why 'The Crow' Should Not Fly Again," 31 May 2018 So much of the positive aura that surrounds FC Cincinnati emanates from the match-day experience at Nippert Stadium and the boisterous, USL-attendance-leading crowds that pack the stands there. Patrick Brennan,, "Takeaways: Credit Alan Koch and Co. for the best start in FC Cincinnati history," 3 May 2018 His achievements gave him an aura of invincibility, but in fact, there are very good reasons why the NCAA is no easy hunting ground for Snyder. Childs Walker,, "Woodbine native Kyle Snyder seeks winning end to remarkable NCAA wrestling career," 16 Mar. 2018 Dusk came slowly, setting an appropriately spooky aura at the William Westerfeld house in Alamo Square on Wednesday, April 27. Brandon Yu,, "‘Snaggletooth’ fits right into Westerfeld House’s horror heritage in SF," 3 July 2018 Above it, an oriental painting of white birds in a forested area adds a peaceful aura. Louisville Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Blast from the past: This Glenmary home is a collector's paradise," 28 June 2018 The aura of Mandela is that of turning the other cheek to historical injustice—the ills of colonialism, of oppression, of exploitation. Peter Godwin, WSJ, "Mandela’s Troubled Legacy," 13 July 2018 The resultant aura of precariousness feels intensely and unmistakably contemporary. Dustin Illingworth,, "Elusive leaps of grace and daring: Rachel Cusk's 'Kudos'," 31 May 2018 But the strong possibility of another Triple Crown so soon after Pharoah’s historic triumph certainly adds to the aura surrounding the Preakness at a time when its future continues to be debated. Peter Schmuck,, "Schmuck: Bob Baffert is still charmed by Charm City and wants Preakness to stay at Old Hilltop," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aura.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aura

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for aura

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

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Learn More about aura

Dictionary Entries near aura

au poivre





aural harmonic


Statistics for aura

Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aura

The first known use of aura was in 1686

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More Definitions for aura



English Language Learners Definition of aura

: a special quality or feeling that seems to come from a person, place, or thing


au·​ra | \ˈȯr-ə \

Kids Definition of aura

: a feeling that seems to be given off by a person or thing There is an aura of mystery about the house.


au·​ra | \ˈȯr-ə \
plural auras also aurae\ -​ē \

Medical Definition of aura 

: 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, 14 Sept. 1993 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, 11 June 1992 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, 2000

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