chemical symbol for the element gold, from Latin aurum "gold" (see aureate).


French, "at the, to the," dative of the French definite article, from Old French al, contraction of a le, with -l- softened to -u-, as also poudre from pulverem, chaud from calidus, etc. This is from Latin ad illum, from ad "to" (see ad-) + accusative of ille "that."

It figures in expressions in cookery, etc., which have crossed the Channel since 18c., such as au revoir; au contraire, literally "on the contrary;" au gratin, literally "with scrapings;" au jus, literally "with the juice." The corresponding fem. is a la.

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Definitions of Au from WordNet
au (n.)
a unit of length used for distances within the solar system; equal to the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun (approximately 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers);
Synonyms: Astronomical Unit
Au (n.)
a soft yellow malleable ductile (trivalent and univalent) metallic element; occurs mainly as nuggets in rocks and alluvial deposits; does not react with most chemicals but is attacked by chlorine and aqua regia;
Synonyms: gold / atomic number "