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mirage

[mi-rahzh] /mɪˈrɑʒ/
noun
1.
an optical phenomenon, especially in the desert or at sea, by which the image of some object appears displaced above, below, or to one side of its true position as a result of spatial variations of the index of refraction of air.
2.
something illusory, without substance or reality.
3.
(initial capital letter) Military. any of a series of supersonic, delta-wing, multirole French fighter-bombers.
Origin
1795-1805
1795-1805; < French, equivalent to (se) mir(er) to look at (oneself), be reflected (< Latin mīrārī to wonder at) + -age -age
Synonyms
2. illusion, phantom, fancy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mirage
  • Certainly, the vision might turn out to be a mirage.
  • Like all too many shining visions, fusion turned out to be a mirage.
  • Our memory of those events is a mirage we call the past.
  • The first exoplanet discovered in the habitable zone could be a mirage, according to reports from an exoplanet meeting yesterday.
  • It dances like a mirage in my vision.
  • Now and then a cloud moved through this wreath of lights, bringing an element of surrealistic surprise to the mirage.
  • Piercing the mirage are dozens of sails—a vast array of color streaking over a dusty ocean.
  • The promised land flies before us like the mirage.
  • And if you're heading straight for the mirage and there are cattle on the other side, you're in trouble.
  • Immortality is what they want, and they can see it out there, flickering in a salt-flat mirage.
British Dictionary definitions for mirage

mirage

/mɪˈrɑːʒ/
noun
1.
an image of a distant object or sheet of water, often inverted or distorted, caused by atmospheric refraction by hot air
2.
something illusory
Word Origin
C19: from French, from (se) mirer to be reflected
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 mirage
n.

"optical illusion of water in sandy deserts," 1812, from French mirage, from se mirer "to be reflected," from Latin mirare (see mirror). Or the French word is from Latin mirus "wonderful" (see miracle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mirage in Science
mirage
  (mĭ-räzh')   

An image formed under certain atmospheric conditions, in which objects appear to be reflected or displaced or in which nonexistent objects seem to appear. For example, the difference in the index of refraction between a low layer of very hot air and a higher level of cold air can cause light rays, travelling down from an object (such as the sky or a cloud) and passing through ever warmer air, to be refracted back up again. An observer viewing these light rays perceives them coming up off the ground, and thus sees the inverted image of the object, which appears lower than the object really is. In this way the sky itself can be reflected, resulting in the mirage of a distant lake.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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