Definition of nebula in English:


Syllabification: neb·u·la
Pronunciation: /ˈnebyələ

noun (plural nebulae /-lē/ or nebulas)

  • 1 Astronomy A cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter.
    More example sentences
    • Evolutionists believe that the solar system condensed out of a cloud of gas and dust called a nebula, hence the nebular hypothesis.
    • We have missions that include active nebulas, swirling dust clouds, moving asteroids and asteroid fields.
    • A planetary nebula forms when Sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers to form bright nebulae with amazing twisted shapes.
  • 1.1(In general use) any indistinct bright area in the night sky, for example, a distant galaxy.
    More example sentences
    • But soon, performing a visual diminuendo, they drift well astern, a distant nebula of glittering pinpoints at the planet's indistinguishable edge.
    • I can see the stars outside, the swirling patterns of distant nebulae.
    • One of the nicest sectors I ever saw is Ocean of Fantasy, a sector rounded by a bright green nebula.
  • 2 Medicine A clouded spot on the cornea causing defective vision.
    More example sentences
    • The bruise over his eye had settled in to a purple nearly matching the nebula itself, but the swelling had reduced dramatically.
    • It treats conjunctivitis, pterygium, nebula and pain in the eyes.


mid 17th century (as a medical term): from Latin, literally 'mist'.

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