will-o-the-wisp

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

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.

views updated

will-o'-the-wisp (jack-o'-lantern) Mysterious light sometimes seen at night in marshy areas. It is thought to be due to the spontaneous combustion of marsh gas (methane).

views updated

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’.

views updated

will-o'-the-wisp •asp •clasp, gasp, grasp, hasp, rasp •crisp, lisp, will-o'-the-wisp, wisp •wasp • woodwasp • cusp