mirage

noun
mi·​rage | \ mə-ˈräzh How to pronounce mirage (audio) \

Definition of mirage

1 : an optical (see optical sense 2a) 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 A peaceful solution proved to be a mirage.

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Choose the Right Synonym for mirage

delusion, illusion, hallucination, mirage mean something that is believed to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal. delusion implies an inability to distinguish between what is real and what only seems to be real, often as the result of a disordered state of mind. delusions of persecution illusion implies a false ascribing of reality based on what one sees or imagines. an illusion of safety hallucination implies impressions that are the product of disordered senses, as because of mental illness or drugs. suffered from terrifying hallucinations mirage in its extended sense applies to an illusory vision, dream, hope, or aim. claimed a balanced budget is a mirage

Mirage and Vision

A mirage is a sort of optical illusion, a reflection of light that can trick the mind into interpreting the sight as an apparently solid thing. It makes sense, therefore, that the word mirage has its roots in the concept of vision. Mirage was borrowed into English at the dawn of the 19th century from the French verb mirer ("to look at"), which also gave us the word mirror. Mirer in turn derives from Latin mirari ("to wonder at"). Mirari is also the ancestor of the English words admire, miracle, and marvel, as well as the rare adjective mirific (meaning "marvelous").

Examples of mirage in a Sentence

A peaceful solution proved to be a mirage.
Recent Examples on the Web If the multiverse is just a mirage, physics may still benefit from the bounty of tools being developed to uncover it. quantamagazine.org, "Physicists Study How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide," 25 Jan. 2021 But the 13 games since have indicated that was a mirage. Christian Clark, NOLA.com, "After solid start, Pelicans have regressed significantly on defense under Stan Van Gundy," 30 Jan. 2021 The decline isn’t a mirage: Testing volume grew but total cases, and the percentage of positive cases, fell. oregonlive, "Oregon’s 10 ZIP codes with the most new coronavirus cases," 23 Jan. 2021 The open sea was a mirage—like so much else in the Arctic. Michael O’donnell, WSJ, "‘Icebound’ Review: Into the Void," 24 Dec. 2020 But with coronavirus cases surging again as the holiday season approaches, and vaccine rollouts in stages too early to make a dent, hope for a Christmas miracle has come to look like a mirage. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Hopes for a ‘normal’ Christmas fade as pandemic rages in Europe and North America," 15 Dec. 2020 But any prescient, planet-saving leadership seen shimmering through hindsight is a mirage. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "The Urgent Case for Shrinking the Economy," 28 Dec. 2020 For Christopher Green of Rochester, New York, the moratorium has been a mirage. Sarah Taddeo, USA TODAY, "COVID-19 financial crisis could see 40 million Americans evicted in 2021," 25 Dec. 2020 The Dolphins can beat any team in the NFL if the run game is working, and this is their opportunity to show that last week’s 250-yard explosion wasn’t a mirage. Keven Lerner, sun-sentinel.com, "Staff predictions: Miami Dolphins (9-5) at Las Vegas Raiders (7-7)," 24 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mirage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mirage

1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mirage

borrowed from French, from mirer "to look at, gaze at" (going back to Old French, going back to Latin mīrārī "to be surprised, look with wonder at") + -age -age — more at admire

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mirage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mirage. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for mirage

mirage

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mirage

: 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

mirage

noun
mi·​rage | \ mə-ˈräzh How to pronounce mirage (audio) \

Kids Definition of mirage

: an illusion sometimes seen at sea, in the desert, or over hot pavement that looks like a pool of water or a mirror in which distant objects are glimpsed

mirage

noun
mi·​rage | \ mə-ˈräzh How to pronounce mirage (audio) \

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

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