Today's "nimbus" might make you think of the Nimbus 2000, the swift and expensive flying broomstick from the Harry Potter stories. One of our other words with a definite J. K. Rowling flavor to it is "u______," meaning "a feeling of anger, annoyance, and offense," and with a minor spelling difference, it's also the name of a universally despised character from the books.
make your point with...
A nimbus is a halo or a bright cloud that surrounds someone or something. More loosely, a nimbus is a lovely feeling or image surrounding someone or something.
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like "bottle," "piece," and "decision," are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about "a bottle," "three pieces," and "many decisions."
Likewise, talk about one nimbus or multiple nimbuses/nimbi.)
The American plural is "nimbuses;" the British is "nimbi."
The adjective is "nimbused."
(Note that "nimbose" means "stormy, cloudy.")
How to use it:
You can simply use "nimbus" to mean "halo" or "cloud." But the figurative meanings take a little more explaining:
Say that someone has a nimbus, is surrounded by a nimbus, or is floating in a nimbus, etc., when you mean that the person has a holy, almost magical appearance--because that person is so beautiful, innocent/pure, honorable,enchanting, glamorous, or famous/popular, etc.
You can get more specific and talk about "a nimbus of something," like a nimbus of white fur or a nimbus of curls, a nimbus of flames, a nimbus of cotton candy, a nimbus of respectability (or glory, splendor, glamour, and so on). Instead of using "of," you can just stick an adjective in front of the word: an exotic nimbus, a mysterious nimbus.
And, you can be more abstract and say that a nimbus surrounds a place, a thing, or an idea rather than just a person: "As a theory, learning styles bask in a nimbus of credibility."
The camera's flash added a mysterious nimbus to the girl's metal necklace.
Despite what the postcards imply, Hawaii isn't bathed in a nimbus of rainbows 24/7.
study it now:
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "nimbus" means when you can explain it without saying "aura" or "enveloping brightness."
try it out:
Think of something that disappointed you because it wasn't as good as everyone said it would be, and fill in the blanks: "Despite the (exotic/beautiful/mysterious/respectable, etc.) nimbus surrounding (a certain thing,) _____."
Example: "Despite the exotic nimbus surrounding Turkish Delight, I didn't like the taste of it at all, and the texture seemed weird, too."
before you review:
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
When it comes to word roots, everybody knows what some of them mean, like “ambi/amphi” (“both”) and “circum” (“around”) and “hetero” (“different”). This knowledge helps you explain why words like “automobile” and “autobiography” look similar—in this case, it’s because they both involve the concept of “self.” But what about some of the less obvious roots? Could you explain, for example, why “contain” looks so much like “sustain” by defining “tain”? This month, we're exploring the meanings underlying common words you know. You can usually figure these out by looking for an extremely basic concept common to all the words in each group. We’ll start with easier, more obvious roots and move on to trickier ones as the month goes on!
Yesterday's question: In acclaim, claim, declaim, proclaim, and reclaim, what does “claim” mean?
Answer: To cry out.
Try this one today: In affluent, confluence, fluctuate, fluent, fluid, flume, influence, and superfluous, what does “flu” mean?
review today's word:
1. The best opposite of NIMBUS is
2. I fell victim to the _____, enchanted by the nimbus surrounding the most expensive brand.
A. confirmation bias B. bandwagon effect
C. halo effect
Answers are below.
a final word:
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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