ignis fatuus

[ig-nis fach-oo-uhs]
noun, plural ignes fatui [ig-neez fach-oo-ahy] .
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.
something deluding or misleading.

1555–65; < Medieval Latin: literally, foolish fire

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World English Dictionary
ignis fatuus (ˈɪɡnɪs ˈfætjʊəs)
n , pl ignes fatui
another name for will-o'-the-wisp
[C16: from Medieval Latin, literally: foolish fire]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

ignis fatuus
"will o' the wisp, jack-a-lantern," 1563, from M.L., lit. "foolish fire." It seems once to have been more common than presently.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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