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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 of Fata Morgana
1810-1820
1810-20; < Italian, translation of Morgan le Fay, associated in literature with magical castles
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Fata Morgana
Historical Examples
  • We also read (p. 119) of the Fata Morgana and other similar appearances.

  • Could it be water, or was it only the mirage—the Fata Morgana?

    The Desert Home Mayne Reid
  • Was it only a delusive appearance, a Fata Morgana of the desert?

    The Daughter of an Empress Louise Muhlbach
  • That's only his Fata Morgana, for he's foredoomed to die in harness.

    The Silver Poppy Arthur Stringer
  • "Like the Fata Morgana of the desert, I am all things to all men," she said.

    Under the Witches' Moon Nathan Gallizier
  • Some of the finest examples of Fata Morgana are witnessed in the polar regions.

    Meteorology Charles Fitzhugh Talman
  • This is the Fata Morgana, which for twenty-six years I had thought a mere fable.

  • "It is the Fata Morgana, or the mirage," explained the guide.

    Historical Miniatures August Strindberg
  • The whole thing had been a Fata Morgana; it had now vanished forever.

    Black Diamonds Mr Jkai
  • It seemed to her that she was flying up to Fata Morgana in her castle in the air.

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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