[ wil-uh-th uh-wisp ]
/ ˈwɪl ə ðəˈwɪsp /
anything that deludes or misleads by luring on.
Discover The Influence Of Portuguese On English Via This Quiz!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following bird names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?
Words nearby will-o'-the-wisp
Origin of will-o'-the-wisp
1600–10; orig. Will (i.e., William) with the wisp; see wisp
OTHER WORDS FROM will-o'-the-wispwill·o'-the-wisp·ish; especially British, will·o'-the-wisp·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for will-o'-the-wisp
/ (ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp) /
Also called: friar's lantern, ignis fatuus, jack-o'-lantern a pale flame or phosphorescence sometimes seen over marshy ground at night. It is believed to be due to the spontaneous combustion of methane or other hydrocarbons originating from decomposing organic matter
a person or thing that is elusive or allures and misleads
Derived forms of will-o'-the-wispwill-o'-the-wispish or will-o'-the-wispy, adjective
Word Origin for will-o'-the-wisp
C17: originally Will with the wisp, from Will short for William and wisp in former sense of a twist of hay or straw burning as a torch
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