• A phenomenon similar to a rainbow, produced by sunlight shining on fog.

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Example Sentences

“The fogbow rising out of the mist gave an eerie feel to the morning air.” 

“The children were so startled to see a fogbow that they called it a ghost rainbow.”

“Keep your eyes peeled on an overcast morning; you might be lucky to see a fogbow.”

Word Origin

English, early 19th century

Why this word?

A fogbow is an almost identical meteorological phenomenon to a rainbow, but it’s completely white. Both are formed from sunlight passing through moisture, but while rainbows display a range of colors reflecting through water droplets, a fogbow appears when the water is much smaller. They can only be seen coming out of fog or clouds when the water is in mist form, and the diffraction through the mist removes all color. You’re likely to see a fogbow when the sun is breaking through fog, or over the ocean. Sailors sometimes call fogbows “seadogs,” and you might also hear it called a “cloudbow,” “mistbow,” or “white rainbow.”

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