The Word-Hoard: Aureole

St. Michael haloed



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

2. A corona around the sun or moon.

3. Another term for areola.

4. The zone of metamorphosed rock surrounding an igneous intrusion.


There aren’t many synonyms for “halo” out there, so it’s good to take note of the word “aureole.” From the Latin aureola corona, meaning “golden crown,” the word can be used not only for saintly head-auras, but for any circle of brightness, especially of gold. You’ll just want to be careful not to confuse it with the anatomical “areola,” unless that’s your intended meaning for some reason.


The vision of a haloed host
That weep around an empty throne;
And, aureoles dark and angels dead,
Man with his own life stands alone.

‘I am,’ he says his bankrupt creed:
‘I am,’ and is again a clod:
The sparrow starts, the grasses stir,
For he has said the name of God.

– G.K. Chesterton, “Ultimate” (1900)

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