See more synonyms for mirage on Thesaurus.com
  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 of mirage

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

Synonyms for mirage

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for mirage

fantasy, hallucination, delusion, phantasm, illusion

Examples from the Web for mirage

Contemporary Examples of mirage

Historical Examples of mirage

  • All these things shimmered and flickered and wavered in the mirage of noon.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • You are no delusion—no mirage, but Rima, like no other being on earth.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • I've often seen the mirage, generally about dark, far out on the western plains.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • They stretch forth their hands to gather the mirage into their bosom.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • "A dream," he thought, "a mirage of the mind;" and he compelled himself to go up.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for mirage


  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 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

"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

mirage in Science


  1. 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.