- The definition of a mirage is an optical illusion, something that you believe you see but that isn't really there.
An example of a mirage is when you believe you see water or a ship in the desert when it isn't really there.
mirage definition by Webster's New World
- an optical illusion in which the image of a distant object, as a ship or an oasis, is made to appear nearby, floating in air, inverted, etc.: it is caused by the refraction of light rays from the object through layers of air having different densities as the result of unequal temperature distributions
- something that falsely appears to be real
Origin: French ; from (se) mirer, to be reflected ; from Vulgar Latin mirare, to look at, for Classical Latin mirari: see miracle
mirage definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- 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. Also called fata morgana.
- Something illusory or insubstantial.
Origin: French, from mirer, to look at, from Latin mīrārī, to wonder at, from mīrus, wonderful; see smei- in Indo-European roots.
mirage - Science Definition
The hot air near the ground surface warms the air above it causing a light ray passing through it to be refracted upwards. Because the light ray reaching the viewer's eye appears to be coming from the ground surface, and because the reflected ray follows the same path, an apparent image is seen.