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.]
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

nIrrlicht nt; (fig)Trugbild nt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

will-o'-the-wisp

[ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp] n (also) (fig) → fuoco fatuo
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
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.
It vaporised from her slight, will-o'-the-wisp presence, from the hopelessness deep in her eyes.
do not possess the technical capacity, or the nerve, to slip passes into the demanding but slightly-built will-o'-the-wisp figure surrounded by hulking opponents, or whether they simply did not trust Foden, is unclear.
However, it seems that this will-o'-the-wisp of 2018 has been for the moment a flash in the pan.
Some of our compatriots fear this seasonal search for the 'right' man at the helm would be an endless journey, that generations to come would be trapped in a similar will-o'-the-wisp, that we are tethered to a jinx to last forever.
Images of the will-o'-the-wisp lead an unnamed narrator to this place, but in subsequent versions, Tolkien links this land to Tol Eressea, an ancient elven stronghold in his legendarium, setting the narrative's re-telling in the halls of King Edward, son of Alfred the Great.
There was also a welcome return for will-o'-the-wisp midfielder Terry Hibbitt, who'd so brilliantly provided many of the bullets for Supermac to fire.
"In fairness to Itzkoff, it's this very will-o'-the-wisp quality that makes Williams a tricky man to pin down.
A will-o'-the-wisp No.10 who famously punched France's Philippe Carbonneau at the Parc de Princes during the 1997 Five Nations with a right cross that a boxer would have been pleased with.
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.