Ignis-fatuus

Definitions

  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ignis-fatuus ig′nis-fat′ū-us a light which misleads travellers, often seen over marshy places, also called 'Will-o'-the-Wisp:'—pl. Ignes-fatui (ig′nēz-fat′ū-ī).
    • ***

Quotations

  • Emily Dickinson
    Emily%20Dickinson
    “The abdication of belief makes the behavior small -- better an ignis fatuus than no illume at all.”

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. ignis, fire, fatuus, foolish.

Usage

In literature:

I'll fry some fat out of this ignis fatuus or burn a hole in the skillet.
"The Gentle Grafter" by O. Henry
How do you feel towards this fair ignis fatuus, this lily of the desert?
"Red Gauntlet" by Sir Walter Scott
A personal influence is an ignis fatuus.
"Essays, Second Series" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is only the meteoric light of the ignis fatuus, soon extinguished.
"Old Fritz and the New Era" by Louise Muhlbach
An ignis fatuus, perhaps; a Jack-o'-lanthorn begotten of putrescence.
"The Life of Cesare Borgia" by Raphael Sabatini
It is soon obscured by the mists of sensuality, the dust of routine, and he thinks it was only some meteor or ignis fatuus that shone.
"Woman in the Nineteenth Century" by Margaret Fuller Ossoli
But it all was a fallacy, a delusion, an ignis fatuus.
"History of Kershaw's Brigade" by D. Augustus Dickert
Even now a specialist in theology will lead us, if he can, a merry "ignis-fatuus" chase and land us in a morass.
"Little Journeys To the Homes of the Great, Volume 3 (of 14)" by Elbert Hubbard
A light which illuminates centuries must be more than an ignis fatuus.
"Ten Great Religions" by James Freeman Clarke
Ignis fatuus = erarlumo.
"English-Esperanto Dictionary" by John Charles O'Connor and Charles Frederic Hayes
***

In poetry:

Allured to southern climes—oh, ill-starred pair!—
By hope's deluding meretricious glare—
An ignis fatuus, dazzling to betray,
Ye followed, fell, and perished in the way!
"The Fate of Maximilian of Mexico And His Empress" by Janet Hamilton
Hope, that builds its airy schemes
On time's transitory star,
Revels in delusive dreams,
Which an ignis fatuus are;
Ever smiling, and beguiling,
Still misleading pilgrims far.
"Autumn: Friday Evening" by John Bowring
Hence doubts out bud for fear Thy fire in me
'S a mocking ignis fatuus,
Or lest Thine altar's fire out be,
It's hid in ashes thus.
Yet when the bellows of Thy spirit blow
Away mine ashes, then Thy fire doth glow.
"Ebb and Flow" by Edward Taylor