views updated May 23 2018

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 May 29 2018

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).

will o the wisp

views updated Jun 27 2018

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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