will-o'-the-wisp(redirected from Will o' the Wisp)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
1. See ignis fatuus.
2. A delusive or misleading hope.
[From Will, nickname for William.]
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)
2. anything that deludes or misleads by luring on; an elusive thing or person.
[1600–10; orig. Will (i.e., William) with the wisp]
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||will-o'-the-wisp - a pale light sometimes seen at night over marshy ground|
|2.||will-o'-the-wisp - an illusion that misleads|