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Fata Morgana

[Italian fah-tah mawr-gah-nah] /Italian ˈfɑ tɑ mɔrˈgɑ nɑ/
noun
1.
Meteorology. a mirage consisting of multiple images, as of cliffs and buildings, that are distorted and magnified to resemble elaborate castles, often seen near the Straits of Messina.
Origin
1810-1820
1810-20; < Italian, translation of Morgan le Fay, associated in literature with magical castles
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Fata Morgana

Fata Morgana

/ˈfɑːtə mɔːˈɡɑːnə; Italian ˈfaːta mɔrˈɡaːna/
noun
1.
a mirage, esp one in the Strait of Messina attributed to the sorcery of Morgan le Fay
Word Origin
C19: from Italian: Morgan le Fay
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Fata Morgana
n.

1818, literally "Fairy Morgana," mirage especially common in the Strait of Messina, Italy, from Morgana, the "Morgan le Fay" of Anglo-French poetry, sister of King Arthur, located in Calabria by Norman settlers. Morgan is Welsh, "sea-dweller." There is perhaps, too, here an influence of Arabic marjan, literally "pearl," also a fem. proper name, popularly the name of a sorceress.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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