delusion

noun
de·​lu·​sion | \ di-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce delusion (audio) , dē- \

Essential Meaning of delusion

1 : a belief that is not true : a false idea He has delusions about how much money he can make at that job. He is living/laboring under the delusion that he is incapable of making mistakes. She is under the delusion that we will finish on time.
2 : a false idea or belief that is caused by mental illness As the illness progressed, his delusions took over and he had violent outbursts.

Full Definition of delusion

1a : something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated under the delusion that they will finish on schedule delusions of grandeur
b psychology : a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary the delusion that someone was out to hurt him also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs
2 : the act of tricking or deceiving someone : the state of being deluded … accused the Bohemian of having practised the most abominable arts of delusion among the younger brethren.— Walter Scott

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Other Words from delusion

delusional \ di-​ˈlüzh-​nəl How to pronounce delusion (audio) , dē-​ , -​ˈlü-​zhə-​nᵊl \ adjective
delusionary \ di-​ˈlü-​zhə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce delusion (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for delusion

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

Examples of delusion in a Sentence

He has delusions about how much money he can make at that job. He is living under the delusion that he is incapable of making mistakes. She is under the delusion that we will finish on time. As the illness progressed, his delusions took over and he had violent outbursts.
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Recent Examples on the Web That was a delusion — or, more likely, a deliberate misreading of the law. Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2021 State instead maintained the delusion that the U.S. could keep a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and continue processing visas well into the future. Adam O’neal, WSJ, 17 Aug. 2021 The message reflected the delusion of American policy. Robin Wrigh, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2021 Ultra-low interest rates are an invitation to malinvestment, irresponsibility, and delusion (not mutually exclusive failings), especially when those rates are, even if only in part, the work of non-market actors. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 2 July 2021 The idea of pursuing a Grand Bargain with a party organized around the principle of blowing up procedural norms at every opportunity is a rank delusion, akin to trying to instruct a feral panther in ballet. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 15 Sep. 2021 The American project in Iraq became a cautionary tale — the empire’s attempt to create a new reality, as the Bush official boasted, was a delusion. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 This American delusion turns climate change into a major source of strategic leverage for Beijing. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 2 Sep. 2021 Realizing that fame is a trap, thirst traps are mirages, and celebrity is a delusion (my Instagram and Twitter handles are @zzdoublezz). Zach Zimmerman, The New Yorker, 6 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delusion.' 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 delusion

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for delusion

Middle English, from Late Latin delusion-, delusio, from deludere — see delude

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Learn More About delusion

Time Traveler for delusion

Time Traveler

The first known use of delusion was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near delusion

delundung

delusion

delusionist

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Delusion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/delusion. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for delusion

delusion

noun
de·​lu·​sion | \ di-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce delusion (audio) \

Kids Definition of delusion

: a false belief that continues in spite of the facts "You might be laboring under the delusion that the entire … world is impressed with you …"— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

delusion

noun
de·​lu·​sion | \ di-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce delusion (audio) \

Medical Definition of delusion

1a : the act of deluding : the state of being deluded
b : an abnormal mental state characterized by the occurrence of psychotic delusions
2 : a false belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that persists despite the facts and occurs in some psychotic states — compare hallucination sense 1, illusion sense 2a

More from Merriam-Webster on delusion

Nglish: Translation of delusion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of delusion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about delusion

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