Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


 (pär-hē′lē-ən, -hēl′yən)
n. pl. par·he·li·a (-hē′lē-ə, -hēl′yə)
A bright spot sometimes appearing at either side of the sun, often on a luminous ring or halo, caused by the refraction and reflection of sunlight by ice crystals suspended in the earth's atmosphere. Also called mock sun, sundog.

[Latin parēlion, from Greek : para-, beside; see para-1 + hēlios, sun; see sāwel- in Indo-European roots.]

par·he′lic (-hē′lĭk) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.parhelic - relating to or resembling a parhelion
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
When cirrus clouds contain ice crystals with the proper orientation, a pair of these parhelia (Greek for "beside the Sun") can appear 22[degrees] or more to either side of the Sun, sometimes on a sky-circling band called the parhelic circle.
Constantine's apparition occurred while the Sun was low in the sky, making possible the halo structure called the parhelic circle, so named because the two bright parhelia, or "sundogs," 22[degree sign] from the Sun lie upon it.
Just try mentioning in casual conversation that you'd like to see supernumerary arcs (on a rainbow), an upper tangential arc (to the 22[degree sign] halo), or paranthelia (on the parhelic circle).