Definition of aureole in US English:


(also aureola)


  • 1A circle of light or brightness surrounding something, especially as depicted in art around the head or body of a person represented as holy.

    • ‘Einstein's wild hair is not the mad scientist's coiffure but a secular aureole, bespeaking his superhuman intelligence and wisdom.’
    • ‘The prominently depicted hen and rooster form the brightest spot in the foreground, as they are encircled by an aureole of light.’
    • ‘Facing them, the rest of us could see little but shadowy faces, surrounded by bright aureoles.’
    • ‘Facing him was a spry elfin-faced girl with an aureole of blonde hair around her head and intent dark eyes.’
    • ‘Many figures have wings, some possess an aureole around their heads and/or a very particular design of cap.’
    • ‘She rubs pigment into engraved lines and allows this to produce a slick aureole around the image.’
    • ‘Auras are not to be confused with the aureoles or halos of saints, which are devices of Christian iconography used to depict the radiance of light associated with divine infusion.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for corona (sense 1)
      • ‘Another vivid feature seen in an eclipse is the corona (or aureola).’
    2. 1.2
      another term for areola
      • ‘Her breasts were small and firm, encircled by wide purple-brown aureoles.’
      • ‘Doing so can compromise blood flow to the nipple and lead to complications, such as necrosis of the skin along the incisions or nipple or aureole necrosis.’
    3. 1.3Geology The zone of metamorphosed rock surrounding an igneous intrusion.
      • ‘There is abundant evidence for a significant and important influence of hydrothermal fluids on element mobility in the aureole.’
      • ‘This is the widest metamorphic zone in the aureole.’
      • ‘We also observe very fine rims of apparent new zircon of enigmatic origin at lower grade in the aureole.’
      • ‘A thermal metamorphic aureole is developed in the sedimentary country rocks.’
      • ‘Metamorphic aureoles around the granitic rocks are estimated to extend on the order of 1 km from the granitic rocks.’
      • ‘These have a narrow metamorphic aureole in which andalusite is developed.’
      • ‘This clearly has major implications for the thermal history of the aureole.’


Middle English: from Old French aureole, from Latin aureola (corona) ‘golden (crown)’, feminine of aureolus (diminutive of aureus, from aurum ‘gold’).