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halo- or hal-
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pref.
1. Salt: halophyte.
2. Halogen: halocarbon.

[French, from Greek, from hals, hal-, salt, sea; see sal- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
ha·lo (hālō)
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n. pl. ha·los or ha·loes
1.
a. A luminous ring or disk of light surrounding the heads or bodies of sacred figures, such as saints, in religious paintings; a nimbus.
b. A ring or disk resembling the halo of a sacred figure: "She had a halo of red hair floating over a delicate ivory face" (Judith Ortiz Cofer).
c. A feeling of glory, reverence, or admiration associated with a person or thing: "By the 1930s, insulin's halo had begun to tarnish, for it became clear that patients who had the illness ... were prone to problems of the small blood vessel" (James S. Hirsch).
2.
a. A circular band of colored light around a light source, as around the sun or moon, caused by the refraction and reflection of light by ice particles suspended in the intervening atmosphere.
b. A roughly spherical region of relatively dust-free space surrounding a galaxy and extending beyond the visible parts of the galaxy. Galactic halos contain stars (often located in globular clusters), gas, and dark matter.
tr.v. ha·loed, ha·lo·ing, ha·loes
To encircle with a halo.

[Medieval Latin halō, from accusative of Latin halōs, from Greek, threshing floor, disk of or around the sun or moon.]
(click for a larger image)
halo
solar halo

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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