Saint Elmo's fire


Saint El·​mo's fire ˈsānt-ˈel-(ˌ)mōz- How to pronounce Saint Elmo's fire (audio)
variants or St. Elmo's fire or less commonly Saint Elmo's light or St. Elmo's light
: 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

Word History


St. Elmo (Erasmus) †303 Italian bishop & patron saint of sailors

First Known Use

1753, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Saint Elmo's fire was in 1753

Dictionary Entries Near Saint Elmo's fire

Cite this Entry

“Saint Elmo's fire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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