mirage

play
noun mi·rage \ mə-ˈräzh \

Definition of mirage

1 :an optical (see optical 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.

mirage was our Word of the Day on 03/26/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of mirage in a Sentence

  1. A peaceful solution proved to be a mirage.

Recent Examples of mirage from the Web

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.

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").

Origin and Etymology of mirage

French, from mirer to look at, from Latin mirari

Synonym Discussion of 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 Defined for English Language Learners

mirage

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noun

Definition of mirage for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

mirage

play
noun mi·rage \ mə-ˈräzh \

Definition of mirage for Students

: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

Medical Dictionary

mirage

play
noun mi·rage \ mə-ˈräzh \

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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