apophenia

noun
ap·​o·​phe·​nia | \ ˌa-pə-ˈfē-nē-ə How to pronounce apophenia (audio) \

Definition of apophenia

: the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas) What psychologists call apophenia—the human tendency to see connections and patterns that are not really there—gives rise to conspiracy theories.— George Johnson — compare pareidolia

First Known Use of apophenia

circa 1980, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about apophenia

Time Traveler for apophenia

Time Traveler

The first known use of apophenia was circa 1980

See more words from the same year

Statistics for apophenia

Cite this Entry

“Apophenia.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apophenia?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=a&file=apophe01. Accessed 22 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for apophenia

apophenia

noun
ap·​o·​phe·​nia | \ ˌa-pə-ˈfē-nē-ə How to pronounce apophenia (audio) \

Medical Definition of apophenia

: the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas) The promise of the Data Age is that the truth really is in there, somewhere. But our age has a curse, too: apophenia, the tendency to see patterns that may or may not exist. — Daniel Conover, The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), 30 Aug. 2004 — compare pareidolia

Comments on apophenia

What made you want to look up apophenia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not agreeing with established beliefs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!