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

Other Words from illusion

illusional \ i-​ˈlüzh-​nəl How to pronounce illusion (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.
Recent Examples on the Web There was an illusion of solidarity—really the underlying current was entirely factious. The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 Critics say that was an illusion and those projects were driven by widespread corruption, foreign loans and ballooning debt. Helen Regan, CNN, 9 May 2022 The danger is no illusion: Throughout the literary canon penned by far-right white-power activists and their hangers-on, there are stories and ideas which, at first blush, appear silly, sad, or demented. Ian Allen, The New Republic, 20 Apr. 2022 The account balance on the CB-ETH site was an illusion, to keep Jenkins engaged — part of the pig-butchering. Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2022 Your competitor may seem to be gaining market share, but that could be an illusion in times of inflation. Ram Charan, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2022 Except his real name is actually Alan, and the hair, like his life skills, is largely an illusion. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 18 Mar. 2022 The notion that reality might be an illusion was thoroughly covered by Plato. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 In reality, the semiprecious metal effect was all an illusion and was made possible by one nail polish alone. Sara Miranda, Allure, 10 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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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Dictionary Entries Near illusion

ill-use

illusion

illusionary

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Statistics for illusion

Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Illusion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illusion. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for illusion

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 illusion (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on illusion

Nglish: Translation of illusion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illusion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about illusion

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