Saint Elmo's fire

Saint El·mo's fire

noun \ˈsānt-ˈel-(ˌ)mōz-\

Definition of SAINT ELMO'S FIRE

:  a flaming phenomenon sometimes seen in stormy weather at prominent points on an airplane or ship and on land that is of the nature of a brush discharge of electricity —called also Saint Elmo's light


St. Elmo (Erasmus) †303 Italian bishop & patron saint of sailors
First Known Use: 1753

Saint Elmo's fire

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Glow accompanying the brushlike discharges of atmospheric electricity that usually appears as a tip of light on the extremities of such pointed objects as church towers or the masts of ships during stormy weather. It is commonly accompanied by a crackling or fizzing noise. It is commonly observed on the periphery of propellers and along the wing tips, windshield, and nose of aircraft flying in dry snow, in ice crystals, or near thunderstorms. St. Elmo is an Italian corruption of St. Erasmus, patron saint of Mediterranean sailors, who traditionally regarded St. Elmo's fire as a sign of his guardianship over them.


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