nebula

noun
neb·u·la | \ˈne-byə-lə \
plural nebulae\ˈne-byə-ˌlē, -ˌlī \ also nebulas

Definition of nebula 

1 : any of numerous clouds of gas or dust in interstellar space

2 : galaxy sense 1b especially : a galaxy other than the Milky Way galaxy not used technically

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Other Words from nebula

nebular \ˈne-byə-lər \ adjective

Did You Know?

Nebula comes to us from Latin, where it meant "mist" or "cloud." In its earliest English uses in the 1600s, nebula referred to a cloudy speck or film on the eye that caused vision problems. It was first applied to great interstellar clouds of gas and dust in the early 1700s. The adjective nebulous comes from the same Latin root as nebula, but the first uses of nebulous don't appear in English until the late 1700s, well after the discovery of interstellar nebulae.

Examples of nebula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The models indicate that stars heat up three times faster than previous models indicated, showing that there's still enough heat from stars the size of our sun to light up a nebula. David Freeman /, NBC News, "Now we know what will happen when the sun dies," 10 May 2018 The drag of the still-present nebula gas affects how the debris moves through the solar system, sending a fraction of them inward towards the inner solar system. Nola Taylor Redd, Smithsonian, "How Jupiter May Have Gifted Early Earth With Water," 20 June 2018 The nebula's contents are still, these centuries later, lit. Sarah Scoles, WIRED, "The Woman Who Knows Everything About the Universe," 4 Apr. 2018 The nebula, located 20,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Carina, contains a central cluster of huge, hot stars, called NGC 3603, the space agency said. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "NASA releases image of 'celestial fireworks' in honor of Independence Day," 4 July 2018 Expert skywatchers are on hand to point out planets, moons, nebulas and other galaxies. Dewayne Bevil, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando Science Center plans late nights, stargazing sessions," 3 July 2018 There’s a lot that scientists can do with that information, including match stars with the nebula that gave birth to them. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Are Searching For Our Sun's Stellar Siblings," 23 Apr. 2018 Shaped by its birth star's high-energy light and interstellar winds, the nebula rests about 650 light-years away from Earth. National Geographic, "The Giant Squid Nebula and More Animals of the Cosmos," 20 Mar. 2018 The nebula our sun produces won't be as bright as the ones produced by bigger stars. David Freeman /, NBC News, "Now we know what will happen when the sun dies," 10 May 2018

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

1718, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nebula

New Latin, from Latin, mist, cloud; akin to Old High German nebul fog, Greek nephelē, nephos cloud

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for nebula

The first known use of nebula was in 1718

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More Definitions for nebula

nebula

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nebula

: a cloud of gas or dust in space that can sometimes be seen at night

: a group of stars that are very far away and look like a bright cloud at night

nebula

noun
neb·u·la | \ˈne-byə-lə \
plural nebulae\-ˌlē \ or nebulas

Kids Definition of nebula

1 : any of many clouds of gas or dust seen in the sky among the stars

nebula

noun
neb·u·la | \ˈneb-yə-lə \
plural nebulas or nebulae\-ˌlē, -ˌlī \

Medical Definition of nebula 

: a slight cloudy opacity of the cornea

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More from Merriam-Webster on nebula

Spanish Central: Translation of nebula

Nglish: Translation of nebula for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about nebula

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