will-o'-the-wisp / ˈwil ə [voicedth]ə ˈwisp/ • n. an ignis fatuus. ∎ fig. a person or thing that is difficult or impossible to find, reach, or catch.
will o the wisp
will o' the wisp phosphorescent light on marshy ground. XVII. The earliest form is Will with the or a wisp, i.e. Will (pet form of William) and WISP in the sense ‘bundle of hay, etc., for use as a torch’.
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