mirage


mi·rage

noun \mə-ˈräzh\

: something (such as a pool of water in the middle of a desert) that is seen and appears to be real but that is not actually there

: something that you hope for or want but that is not possible or real

Full Definition of MIRAGE

1
:  an optical effect that is sometimes seen at sea, in the desert, or over a hot pavement, that may have the appearance of a pool of water or a mirror in which distant objects are seen inverted, and that is caused by the bending or reflection of rays of light by a layer of heated air of varying density
2
:  something illusory and unattainable like a mirage

Examples of MIRAGE

  1. A peaceful solution proved to be a mirage.

Origin of MIRAGE

French, from mirer to look at, from Latin mirari
First Known Use: 1803

mi·rage

noun \mə-ˈräzh\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of MIRAGE

: an optical effect that is sometimes seen at sea, in the desert, or over a hot pavement, that may have the appearance of a pool of water or a mirror in which distant objects are seen inverted, and that is caused by the bending or reflection of rays of light by a layer of heated air of varying density

mirage

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In optics, the deceptive appearance of a distant object caused by the bending of light rays (refraction) in layers of air of varying density. Under certain conditions, such as over a stretch of pavement or desert air heated by intense sunshine, the air cools rapidly with elevation and therefore increases in density and refractive power. Sunlight reflected down from the upper portion of an object will be directed through the cool air in the normal way; although the light would not be seen ordinarily because of the angle, it curves upward after it enters the rarefied hot air near the ground, thus being refracted to the observer's eye as though it had originated below the heated surface. When the sky is the object of the mirage, the land is mistaken for a lake or sheet of water.

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: Miranda
Previous Word in the Dictionary: mirador
All Words Near: mirage

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up mirage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More