will-o'-the-wisp

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will-o'-the-wisp

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

[From Will, nickname for William.]
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.

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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

will-o'-the-wisp

noun
An erroneous perception of reality:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Translations

will-o'-the-wisp

[ˈwɪləðəˈwɪsp] N (lit) → fuego m fatuo (fig) → quimera f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

will-o'-the-wisp

[ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp] n (= elusive person, thing) → feu follet m
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

will-o'-the-wisp

[ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp] n (also) (fig) → fuoco fatuo
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in periodicals archive ?
The nose, which Falstaff earlier had elevated to a memento mori, is now in his mind clarified as the ignisfatuus which he had feared it to be.
This incomplete detachment from reality echoes Lacan's and Davis's thesis that the hallucination of corporeal wholeness is meant to compensate for the subject's realization that such wholeness is an ignisfatuus, that he or she remains dependent on the outside world.
Purplish photos and glass vials of water documented the sole performance of Ignisfatuus, 1996-2000, that took place in a Baltimore garden: Arterial casts of a brain, heart, and lungs fluoresced to Ponselle's recorded voice according to the lunar cycle and a system of light sensors, microswitches, and peristaltic pumps.