ignis fatuus

noun
ig·nis fat·u·us | \ˈig-nəs-ˈfa-chə-wəs, -ˈfach-wəs\
plural ignes fatui\ˈig-ˌnēz-ˈfa-chə-ˌwī \

Definition of ignis fatuus 

1 : a light that sometimes appears in the night over marshy ground and is often attributable to the combustion of gas from decomposed organic matter

2 : a deceptive goal or hope

First Known Use of ignis fatuus

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ignis fatuus

Medieval Latin, literally, foolish fire

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ignis fatuus

Share ignis fatuus

Dictionary Entries near ignis fatuus

ignescent

igni-

ignimbrite

ignis fatuus

ignite

ignition

ignition charge

Statistics for ignis fatuus

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ignis fatuus

The first known use of ignis fatuus was in 1563

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on ignis fatuus

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ignis fatuus

Comments on ignis fatuus

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

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!