illusion

noun
il·​lu·​sion | \ i-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce illusion (audio) \
plural illusions

Definition of illusion

1a(1) : a misleading image presented to the vision : optical illusion
(2) : something that deceives or misleads intellectually
b(1) : perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature
(3) : a pattern capable of reversible perspective
2a(1) : the state or fact of being intellectually deceived or misled : misapprehension
(2) : an instance of such deception
b obsolete : the action of deceiving
3 : a fine plain transparent bobbinet or tulle usually made of silk and used for veils, trimmings, and dresses

Illustration of illusion

Illustration of illusion

illusion 1a(1): a and b are equal in length

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Other Words from illusion

illusional \ i-​ˈlüzh-​nəl How to pronounce illusional (audio) , -​ˈlü-​zhə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for illusion

delusion, illusion, hallucination, mirage mean something that is believed to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal. delusion implies an inability to distinguish between what is real and what only seems to be real, often as the result of a disordered state of mind. delusions of persecution illusion implies a false ascribing of reality based on what one sees or imagines. an illusion of safety hallucination implies impressions that are the product of disordered senses, as because of mental illness or drugs. suffered from terrifying hallucinations mirage in its extended sense applies to an illusory vision, dream, hope, or aim. claimed a balanced budget is a mirage

Allusion and Illusion

Allusion and illusion may share some portion of their ancestry (both words come in part from the Latin word ludere, meaning “to play”), and sound quite similar, but they are distinct words with very different meanings. An allusion is an indirect reference, whereas an illusion is something that is unreal or incorrect. Each of the nouns has a related verb form: allude “to refer indirectly to,” and illude (not a very common word), which may mean “to delude or deceive” or “to subject to an illusion.”

Examples of illusion in a Sentence

The video game is designed to give the illusion that you are in control of an airplane. They used paint to create the illusion of metal. She says that all progress is just an illusion.
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Recent Examples on the Web The art of the civilizing myth, the pleasing illusion, which once did something to hallow the institution, has given way to a dress-down cult of the merely functional, a culture of drabness. Michael Knox Beran, National Review, "Can Today’s Soulless Institutions Be Revived?," 6 Feb. 2020 By the end, the twins had been separated, and Mr. X had spoken of pleasure, pain, illusion, and confusion. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "The Residents “Stumble Through” a Rock Opera," 3 Feb. 2020 But not everybody is susceptible to the illusion, notably dancers and musicians, for example. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study finds that the popular rubber hand illusion could be used to treat OCD," 20 Jan. 2020 The highlights paintings—rendered in shades of grey and often modeled to create the illusion of a relief—held by the Maison de Victor Hugo. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "You Can Now Download Images of 100,000 Artworks From Prominent Paris Museums’ Collections," 14 Jan. 2020 Although some claim to have recorded the sound (above), this can’t be verified and researchers aren’t even sure if the hum is a real external noise, a powerful but rare aural illusion, or, who knows, some kind of government mind-control experiment. Nicole Clausing, Sunset Magazine, "These 8 Mysteries of the West Remain Unsolved (and Are Turning Us into Obsessive Armchair Sleuths)," 10 Jan. 2020 Circle of fire: The frame around Nataraja is maya, illusion, as experienced through the cyclical phenomenon of birth & death. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "How the Indian icon Nataraja danced his way from ancient history to modern physics," 18 Dec. 2019 Stop grasping for the illusion of power, especially over things like instinctive bodily functions. Rachel Meyer, chicagotribune.com, "What yoga taught me about parenting young ones through dark (early) mornings," 22 Nov. 2019 The illusion of peaceful retirement is completely shattered by the appearance of Dahj (Isa Briones), a mysterious young woman with a puzzling link to his past. Mark Dawidziak, cleveland, "‘Star Trek: Picard’ is slow-building, but Patrick Stewart is stellar," 18 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illusion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of illusion

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for illusion

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin illusion-, illusio, from Latin, action of mocking, from illudere to mock at, from in- + ludere to play, mock — more at ludicrous

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Learn More about illusion

Time Traveler for illusion

Time Traveler

The first known use of illusion was in the 14th century

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Statistics for illusion

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Illusion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Illusions. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for illusion

illusion

noun
How to pronounce illusion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of illusion

: something that looks or seems different from what it is : something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real
: an incorrect idea : an idea that is based on something that is not true

illusion

noun
il·​lu·​sion | \ i-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce illusion (audio) \

Kids Definition of illusion

1 : something that is false or unreal but seems to be true or real The video game creates the illusion of flying.
2 : a mistaken idea She had no illusions about her chances of winning.

illusion

noun
il·​lu·​sion | \ il-ˈü-zhən How to pronounce illusion (audio) \

Medical Definition of illusion

1 : a misleading image presented as a visual stimulus
2a : perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature especially : optical illusion — compare delusion sense 2
c : a pattern capable of reversible perspective

Other Words from illusion

illusional \ -​ˈüzh-​nəl, -​ən-​ᵊl How to pronounce illusional (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on illusion

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