Ignis fatuus

Ignis fatuus
Ignis fatuus Ig"nis fat"u*us; pl. {Ignes fatui}. [L. ignis fire + fatuus foolish. So called in allusion to its tendency to mislead travelers.] 1. A phosphorescent light that appears, in the night, over marshy ground, supposed to be occasioned by the decomposition of animal or vegetable substances, or by some inflammable gas; -- popularly called also {Will-with-the-wisp}, or {Will-o'-the-wisp}, and {Jack-with-a-lantern}, or {Jack-o'-lantern}. [1913 Webster]

2. Fig.: A misleading influence; a decoy. [1913 Webster]

Scared and guided by the ignis fatuus of popular superstition. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • ignis fatuus — [ig′nis fach′o͞o əs] n. pl. ignes fatui [ig′nēz fach′o͞o ī΄] [ML < L ignis, a fire + fatuus, foolish] 1. JACK O LANTERN (sense 1) 2. a deceptive hope, goal, or influence; delusion …   English World dictionary

  • Ignis fatŭus — (lat.), soviel wie Irrlicht …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • ignis fatuus — (n.) will o the wisp, jack a lantern, 1560s, from M.L., lit. foolish fire; see IGNEOUS (Cf. igneous) + FATUOUS (Cf. fatuous) …   Etymology dictionary

  • ignis fatuus — noun /ˈɪɡnɪs ˈfætjuːəs/ a) A will o the wisp. Fiery spirits or devils are such as commonly work by blazing stars, fire drakes, or ignes fatui; which lead men often in flumina aut præcipitia, saith Bodine [...]. b) A delusion, a false hope. Like… …   Wiktionary

  • ignis fatuus — /ˌɪgnɪs ˈfætʃuəs/ (say .ignis fachoohuhs) noun (plural ignes fatui /ˌɪgniz ˈfætʃuaɪ/ (say .igneez fachoohuy)) 1. a flitting phosphorescent light seen at night, chiefly over marshy ground, and supposedly due to spontaneous combustion of gas from… …  

  • ignis fatuus — noun (plural ignes fatui) Etymology: Medieval Latin, literally, foolish fire Date: 1563 1. a light that sometimes appears in the night over marshy ground and is often attributable to the combustion of gas from decomposed organic matter 2. a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ignis fatuus — /ig nis fach ooh euhs/, pl. ignes fatui /ig neez fach ooh uy /. 1. Also called friar s lantern, will o the wisp. a flitting phosphorescent light seen at night, chiefly over marshy ground, and believed to be due to spontaneous combustion of gas… …   Universalium

  • ignis fatuus — Synonyms and related words: airy nothing, autism, autoluminescence, backfire, balefire, beacon, beacon fire, bioluminescence, blaze, bonfire, bubble, burning ghat, campfire, cathode luminescence, cheerful fire, chemicoluminescence,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • ignis fatuus — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Lat., will o the wisp. See insubstantiality. II (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun An erroneous perception of reality: delusion, hallucination, illusion, mirage, phantasm, phantasma, will o the wisp. See REAL …   English dictionary for students

  • ignis fatuus — ig·nis fat·u·us || ‚ɪgnɪs‚fætʃʊs phosphorous light which hovers over the ground in marshy areas; something delusive or misleading (from Latin foolish fire ) …   English contemporary dictionary

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