ignis fatuus

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 some ignis fatuus belated upon the road behind them which all could see and of which none spoke. For this will to deceive that is in things luminous may manifest itself likewise in retrospect and so by sleight of some fixed part of a journey already accomplished may also post men to fraudulent destinies.


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  • 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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 — /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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