Aperture is the size of the hole through which light travels through your camera's lens to it's sensor.
Aperture controls depth of field - which refers to how much in front of, and behind your subject is going to be in focus. It is the camera setting which is responsible for all those lovely blurred backgrounds (which we refer to as the "bokeh" effect).
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Aperture is measured in "f numbers" or "f stops", where a small number denotes a large aperture, and a large number denotes a small aperture (I'm sure this was done for added confusion for the beginner - it confused the heck out of me when I was learning...). Bokeh happens when you have a wide aperture of say f4. If you want to take a wonderful landscape where everything in the picture is in focus you'll want to use a small aperture (say f22).
If you'd like to know more about aperture and how it can effect your photographs check out this article here.
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