Dictionary.com

will-o'-the-wisp

[ wil-uh-thuh-wisp ]
/ ˈwɪl ə ðəˈwɪsp /
Save This Word!

noun
anything that deludes or misleads by luring on.
QUIZ
QUIZ YOURSELF ON AFFECT VS. EFFECT!
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of will-o'-the-wisp

1600–10; originally Will (i.e., William) with the wisp;see wisp

OTHER WORDS FROM will-o'-the-wisp

willo'-the-wispish; especially British, willo'-the-wispy, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use will-o'-the-wisp in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for will-o'-the-wisp

will-o'-the-wisp
/ (ˌwɪləðəˈwɪsp) /

noun
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-wisp

will-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
FEEDBACK