au·​ro·​ra | \ ə-ˈrȯr-ə How to pronounce aurora (audio) , ȯ- \
plural auroras or aurorae\ ə-​ˈrȯr-​(ˌ)ē How to pronounce aurorae (audio) , ȯ-​ \

Definition of aurora

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : dawn
2 capitalized : the Roman goddess of dawn — compare eos
3 : a luminous phenomenon that consists of streamers or arches of light appearing in the upper atmosphere of a planet's magnetic polar regions and is caused by the emission of light from atoms excited by electrons accelerated along the planet's magnetic field lines


geographical name
Au·​ro·​ra | \ ə-ˈrȯr-ə How to pronounce Aurora (audio) , ȯ- \

Definition of Aurora (Entry 2 of 2)

1 city in north central Colorado east of Denver population 325,078
2 city west of Chicago in northeastern Illinois population 197,899
3 town north of Toronto in southeastern Ontario, Canada population 53,203

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Other Words from aurora


auroral \ ə-​ˈrȯr-​əl How to pronounce auroral (audio) , ȯ-​ \ adjective
aurorean \ ə-​ˈrȯr-​ē-​ən How to pronounce aurorean (audio) , ȯ-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for aurora

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of aurora in a Sentence

Noun a gorgeous pink aurora aroused us out of our slumber
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The aurora, however, is just one way in which planetary atmospheres light up. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "New study discovers green glow in the atmosphere of Mars," 18 June 2020 This is akin to creating an artificial aurora, and makes ionospheric motions visible. The Economist, "Planetary monitoring A plan to turn the atmosphere into one, enormous sensor," 11 June 2020 Planetary astronomers are blind to that magnetic field from Earth, although the Hubble Space Telescope can occasionally catch an indirect glimpse via Uranus’s auroras—which can shine far from the poles. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Uranus blasted a gas bubble 22,000 times bigger than Earth," 30 Mar. 2020 According to a statement, auroras—whether here on Earth or elsewhere—occur when charged particles from the sun slam into a planet’s magnetic field. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Saturn’s Auroras Could Help Explain the Weird Amounts of Heat in Its Atmosphere," 8 Apr. 2020 Her company’s clientele that month leans toward Chinese students studying abroad in the Lower 48 who spend their spring break chasing the aurora in Alaska. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Coronavirus leads hundreds of Chinese tourists to cancel Alaska winter trips," 19 Feb. 2020 The dunes difference other auroras is in its shape. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "How Citizen Scientists Helped Discover a New Aurora," 3 Feb. 2020 The aurora – nighttime light displays in the atmosphere near Earth’s poles – take on various shapes and forms, the American Geophysical Union said. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "New type of aurora, nicknamed 'the dunes,' discovered by citizen scientists in Finland," 1 Feb. 2020 The Magnetic Fields can, with its colorful wavelengths, inspires thoughts of the auroras, with compass points at the heart. oregonlive, "Happy birthday, beer can: Flashy labels are all the rage, and here are 10 sweet NW designs," 24 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aurora.' 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 aurora


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aurora


Latin — more at east

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Time Traveler for aurora

Time Traveler

The first known use of aurora was in the 14th century

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Statistics for aurora

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aurora.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aurora

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aurora

Spanish Central: Translation of aurora Encyclopedia article about aurora

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