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.
Origin and Etymology of nebula
New Latin, from Latin, mist, cloud; akin to Old High German nebul fog, Greek nephelē, nephos cloud
First Known Use: 1718
NEBULA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of nebula for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
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