mirage

[ mi-rahzh ]
/ mɪˈrɑʒ /

noun

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.
something illusory, without substance or reality.
(initial capital letter) Military. any of a series of supersonic, delta-wing, multirole French fighter-bombers.

Nearby words

  1. miracle play,
  2. miraculous,
  3. miraculous fruit,
  4. mirador,
  5. miraflores,
  6. miramar,
  7. miranda,
  8. miranda decision,
  9. miranda, francisco de,
  10. mirandize

Origin of mirage

1795–1805; < French, equivalent to (se) mir(er) to look at (oneself), be reflected (< Latin mīrārī to wonder at) + -age -age

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mirage


British Dictionary definitions for mirage

mirage

/ (mɪˈrɑːʒ) /

noun

an image of a distant object or sheet of water, often inverted or distorted, caused by atmospheric refraction by hot air
something illusory

Word Origin for mirage

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

Word Origin and History for mirage

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

Science definitions for mirage

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.