Definitions

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

  • A state of the northeast United States. It was admitted as one of the original Thirteen Colonies in 1788. First explored by Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson, the region was claimed by the Dutch in 1624 but fell to the English in 1664-1667. The building of the Erie Canal and railroad lines in the 1820s and 1830s led to development of the western part of the state and great economic prosperity, establishing New York City as the financial center of the nation. Albany is the capital and New York City the largest city. Population: 19,300,000.
  • A city of southern New York on New York Bay at the mouth of the Hudson River. Founded by the Dutch as New Amsterdam, it was renamed by the English in honor of the Duke of York. It is the largest city in the country and a financial, cultural, trade, shipping, and communications center. Originally consisting only of Manhattan Island, it was rechartered in 1898 to include the five present-day boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Population: 8,210,000.

Etymologies

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Examples

  • Written on it are the names of those who despaired, young men and young women for whom opportunity had become a will-o'-the-wisp.

    David O. Russell: FDR Said It All in 1936 -- Who Will Follow in His Steps Today?

  • Not on the basis of a will-o'-the-wisp, ever-vanishing possibility of an end someday to American intervention, but a commitment that it is only Afghans who will rule Afghanistan, either with knives at each others' throats or with hands clasping each others' hands.

    Rabbi Arthur Waskow: Petition The President: End Afghan War Now!

  • His account is powerful and, often, very moving, marred only by traces of a belief in the impossible dream of a kinder, gentler Soviet Union, the will-o'-the-wisp that beguiled and destroyed Mikhail Gorbachev.

    A World Behind Barbed Wire

  • First the hot Jupiters; then the will-o'-the-wisp Glieslings and their cousins; and the results from the Kepler mission, one of which is Kepler-22b.

    Athena Andreadis, Ph.D.: Slouching to the Right of the Drake Equation

  • Men would muddle about in the Black Forest, keeping company to all the terrapins until they would see the will-o‚-the wisp in the dark sky, or the ghost of Will holding the wisp in the middle of the marshland.

    Archive 2006-04-02

  • She would say, ‘Tonight I was followed by the will-o'-the-wisps of the cemetery.’

    The Templar Revelation

  • Upon a will-o--the-wisp, one's mind can set a snowflake derby, even a crown of thorns; but a top hat or beret is quite another matter.

    Villa Incognito

  • One of the will-o--the-wisp servants guided Eric through the labyrinth of interconnecting castle rooms all filled with revelers, finally arriving at the castle's equivalent of the RenFaire's Main Stage.

    Spirits White As Lightning

  • It was night here, but the trees were filled with golden fireflies, and glowing will-o--the-wisps floated gently through the air, shedding multicolored pastel light.

    Spirits White As Lightning

  • The glowing will-o--the-wisp that Dharniel had given him in lieu of a map hovered in front of them, blinking impatiently.

    Spirits White As Lightning

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