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

The new bill, which, if signed, would go into effect next year, concedes that this progressive vision has been a mirage. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "A New California Law Takes Aim at Uber and Lyft," 12 Sep. 2019 Poised against a white column littered with orchids, Beyoncé seems otherworldly, a mirage of gossamer and gold, in a historic image shot by then-23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Smithsonian Nabs Beyoncé’s Portrait for Its Permanent Collection," 7 Aug. 2019 After turning off the highway near the town of Todos Santos, and driving down an unassuming desert road, the property's organic farm fields and gleaming white plaster buildings appeared like a beautiful mirage. Marc Davila, House Beautiful, "Hotel San Cristobal Is the Ultimate End-of-Summer Vacation Spot," 27 Aug. 2019 The city of Copiapó appeared like a mirage, shimmering and unreal. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "From Buenos Aires to the Chilean Coast: A Road Trip Across South America," 22 Aug. 2019 Every time the holy city is mentioned, the sisters whip around to gaze at an enlarged picture postcard that glimmers, like a mirage, on the back wall. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "A Millennial Reboot of Chekhov, and “Moulin Rouge!” on Broadway," 29 July 2019 But the promises of probe and action have always remained a mirage. Aijaz Hussain, The Seattle Times, "Fighting in Kashmir city leaves 3 combatants, civilian dead," 17 Oct. 2018 On July 31, after a 6-19 collapse that ranks as the worst calendar month in franchise history, their playoff dreams were a mirage. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "“Who is this guy?”: Former Broncos RB Peyton Hillis on how he ended up on the Madden cover," 5 Aug. 2019 Rowlett officials’ dream of blue waves, white sands and a Texas-size fountain would be no mirage under its latest plan for a Lake Ray Hubbard development. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "Rowlett announces new deal to restart stalled development with Crystal Lagoon along Lake Ray Hubbard," 1 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for mirage

Last Updated

30 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mirage

The first known use of mirage was in 1800

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on mirage

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mirage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mirage

Spanish Central: Translation of mirage

Nglish: Translation of mirage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mirage for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mirage

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