Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
A light that dazzles the eyes may dim the brain. How else to explain the flounder-like confusion between “aura” and “aurora.”
The orthographic similarity of the two terms hides deep etymological differences. “Aura” comes from a Greek word for “breeze,” “aurora” from the Latin word for dawn (or the goddess thereof).
In modern English “aurora” is most typically a term for the electrical phenomenon at the earth’s poles that gives us the spectacular northern and southern lights. “Aura” has left its meteorological sense behind and is today applied to an emanation, visible or invisible, from a body. It can also be the impression conveyed by such emanations (e.g., “an aura of mystery”). There is, obviously, some shared radiation between the two semantic realms. The radiation opens up a portal that allows one term to invade the space of the other
Examples of “aurora” for “aura:”
Forum post+: “The computer display now actually looks bright and also has an aurora of mystery”
: “According to the writer, time and time again Custer and his troops had taken on an aurora of invincibility.”
: “The Federal Reserve under the tenure of Alan Greenspan always carried an aurora of power that whenever things got silly in the market, the maestro Greenspan would quickly take center stage in D.C. and calm the markets. ”
Annnnnd the other direction:
: “Can we see the aura borealis from Ohio? i would like to see it and have heard of someone who supposedly has but don’t know if it’s true.”
: “This is a very interesting program,it talks about the aura borealis, and they laugh and joke about all that free energy up there, they also briefly discuss the methane on mars and on the size of our galaxy which is bigger than first thought and moving faster than thought ”
Last edited by kem (2011-02-19 20:44:36)
Nicely evocative imagery. And serendipitous, given the light buzz around . Among the conceivable origins of the hapless arts reporter’s temporary aphasia is ‘migraine aura’. Lots of potential there, that is not disappointed.
And now, we see “areola” thrown into the mix: http://www.chacha.com/question/what-is- … a-borealis