from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See mirage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A mirage, especially one seen in the Strait of Messina


Italian, mirage, Morgan le Fay (from the belief that the mirage was caused by her witchcraft) : fata, fairy (from Vulgar Latin fāta, goddess of fate; see fairy) + Morgana, Morgan (probably from Old Irish Morrigain).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian translation of Morgan le Fay (fata ("fairy")) (Wiktionary)


Sorry, no example sentences found.


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  • the original word refers to morgan la fee fata-the act or action; morgana- of a fairy or witch she was king arthur's sister. historically a 'pagan' or goddess worshipper.
    she has is NO responsibility for the italian optical illusion.
    a fata morgana can refer simply to a " magical act " or a "magical occurence"

    August 8, 2009

  • reallifepixel's missing link

    June 11, 2009

  • Very nice. :-)

    June 10, 2009

  • One of my favorite passages from Pasternak, from the poem that begins "Се�?тра мо�? — жизнь…" ("My sister – life…"):

    Мига�?, морга�?, но �?п�?т где–то �?ладко,
    И фата–морганой любима�? �?пит
    Тем ча�?ом, как �?ердце, плеща по площадкам,
    Вагонными дверцами �?ыплет в �?тепи.

    And here's a more or less serviceable translation:

    Winking, blinking, people sleep sweetly somewhere,
    and my love, like a fata-morgana, sleeps,
    while my heart, splashing across train platforms,
    scatters carriage doors over the steppe.

    June 10, 2009

  • June 10, 2009

  • My guess was Arabic. Hmmm, only about 30% maybe! In Indonesian it is written as a single word, fatamorgana, with the same meaning, ie. mirage.

    May 14, 2008

  • A cool etymology.

    May 14, 2008

  • Noun.
    1. An optical phenomenon that creates the illusion of water, often with inverted reflections of distant objects, and results from distortion of light by alternate layers of hot and cool air.
    2. Something illusory or insubstantial.

    May 13, 2008