will-o'-the-wisp


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Related to will-o'-the-wisp: ball lightning

will-o'-the-wisp

 (wĭl′ə-thə-wĭsp′)
n.
2. A delusive or misleading hope.

[From Will, nickname for William.]

will-o'-the-wisp

(ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp)
n
1. (Chemistry) Also called: friar's lantern, ignis fatuus or jack-o'-lantern a pale flame or phosphorescence sometimes seen over marshy ground at night. It is believed to be due to the spontaneous combustion of methane or other hydrocarbons originating from decomposing organic matter
2. a person or thing that is elusive or allures and misleads
[C17: originally Will with the wisp, from Will short for William and wisp in former sense of a twist of hay or straw burning as a torch]
ˌwill-o'-the-ˈwispish, ˌwill-o'-the-ˈwispy adj

will-o'-the-wisp

(ˈwɪl ə ðəˈwɪsp)

n.
2. anything that deludes or misleads by luring on; an elusive thing or person.
[1600–10; orig. Will (i.e., William) with the wisp]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.will-o'-the-wisp - a pale light sometimes seen at night over marshy groundwill-o'-the-wisp - a pale light sometimes seen at night over marshy ground
light, visible light, visible radiation - (physics) electromagnetic radiation that can produce a visual sensation; "the light was filtered through a soft glass window"
2.will-o'-the-wisp - an illusion that misleads
fancy, phantasy, illusion, fantasy - something many people believe that is false; "they have the illusion that I am very wealthy"

will-o'-the-wisp

noun
An erroneous perception of reality:
Translations

will-o'-the-wisp

[ˈwɪləðəˈwɪsp] N (lit) → fuego m fatuo (fig) → quimera f

will-o'-the-wisp

[ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp] n (= elusive person, thing) → feu follet m

will-o'-the-wisp

[ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp] n (also) (fig) → fuoco fatuo
References in classic literature ?
Here in thy loneliness the eglantine Weaves her sweet tapestries above thy head, While blow across thy bed, Moist with the dew of heaven, the breezes chill: Fire-fly, will-o'-the-wisp, and wandering star Glow in thy gloom, and naught is heard but the far Chanting of woodman and shepherd from the hill, Naught but the startled bird is seen Soaring away in the moonland sheen, Or the hulk of the scampering beast that fears Their plaintive lays as, to and fro, The pallid singers go.
There was quite a bewildering succession of drives, dances, picnics and boating parties, all expressively lumped together by Phil under the head of "jamborees"; Alec and Alonzo were so constantly on hand that Anne wondered if they ever did anything but dance attendance on that will-o'-the-wisp of a Phil.
A real will-o'-the-wisp character who has impressed in defeats to England, Ireland and France with his attacking prowess and coverage of the back field.
Laarmans accompanies them in their fruitless search for Maria, who, like a will-o'-the-wisp, leads them deeper into the city and the night.
A strange glow, like a will-o'-the-wisp, flickers in her eyes.
The fox your will-o'-the-wisp character possesses to complete its quest bounds handsomely over picturesque landscapes peppered with environmental puzzles that require switching between seasons to overcome - water levels rise in spring, while winter freezes create ice platforms to climb up to plants, which unfurl only in summer.
There are straightforward scientific explanations of other natural phenomenon, such as the will-o'-the-wisp described in "Irrlicht" and the sundogs seen by the narrator in "Die Nebensonnen.
The show - the story - begins with Maria, "a flibbertigibbet, a will-o'-the-wisp, a clown", hurtling back to the abbey where, given her shocking time-keeping, she is clearly in vain pursuit of a career as a nun.
It was a skilful run at Grimsby which gave him the chance - and a brave run because he had to win a 50-50 against their centre-back and Joe is a bit of a will-o'-the-wisp really with his build - and it was a shame he hit the post when he should have scored.
They are now disappointed to see that their hope has turned out to be a will-o'-the-wisp.
And the direction of Josep Pons, a conductor whose tidy beat encourages rather than dictates what goes on in the ranks, enabled a much reduced CBSO to relish the score's transparency and its opportunities for individual display, notably in the Pantomime (lovely cello solo from Richard Jenkinson) and Will-o'-the-Wisp numbers.