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ignis fatuus

[ig-nis fach-oo-uh s] /ˈɪg nɪs ˈfætʃ u əs/
noun, plural ignes fatui
[ig-neez fach-oo-ahy] /ˈɪg niz ˈfætʃ uˌaɪ/ (Show IPA)
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 from decomposed organic matter.
2.
something deluding or misleading.
Origin of ignis fatuus
1555-1565
1555-65; < Medieval Latin: literally, foolish fire
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for ignis fatuus

ignis fatuus

/ˈɪɡnɪs ˈfætjʊəs/
noun (pl) ignes fatui (ˈɪɡniːz ˈfætjʊˌaɪ)
1.
another name for will-o'-the-wisp
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin, literally: foolish fire
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 ignis fatuus
n.

"will o' the wisp, jack-a-lantern," 1560s, from Medieval Latin, literally "foolish fire;" see igneous + fatuous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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