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

Perry’s system enabled performers to give the audience the illusion of human beings flourishing in 20 feet of water. Joy Wallace Dickinson, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida’s mermaid spring still sings its siren song," 2 Sep. 2019 The annual event features vendors, lectures on magic and competitions, where magicians young and old learn new tricks and show off their best illusions and sleights of hand. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "Magicians coming to San Antonio share stories of shattered illusions," 26 Aug. 2019 There is no shortage of greenery; rainbow eucalyptus trees surround the area and give off the illusion that guests are far from city life. Catie Wegman, sun-sentinel.com, "Picture perfect: 12 South Florida spots that are sure to make you Instagram famous," 9 July 2019 The Boulder resident has no illusions about her first trail race after a stellar career that included finishing third in the New York City Marathon (2008) and the Boston Marathon (2009). John Meyer, The Know, "Saturday’s Leadville Trail Marathon runners will be competing against an Olympian," 14 June 2019 West’s taste for courting controversy and his illusions of grandeur, often disconnected from reality, are all part of his artistic genius, and have helped him make genre-defining music over the course of his career. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Greatest rapper alive? How Kanye West devolved into just another internet troll," 3 May 2018 Matt Barnes called it a career last summer, with a long–awaited championship ring on his finger and with no illusions about his reputation. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "NBA Players Are Fined Millions of Dollars Every Year. Where Does the Money Go?," 27 Mar. 2018 Much of that appears to be an illusion, and there is little evidence that Mr. Epstein is a billionaire. David Lazarus, latimes.com, "California Inc.: Black market for wildlife thrives on Facebook, Instagram," 15 July 2019 The secrets behind some of Zhu's prized illusions, such as Chinese linking rings, where solid metal rings appear to link and unlink, have been exposed online. Eduardo Baptista, CNN, "The traditional Chinese magicians calling for greater censorship of their ancient tricks," 11 July 2019

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

Dictionary Entries near illusion

illus

ill-usage

ill-use

illusion

illusionary

illusioned

illusionism

Statistics for illusion

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for illusion

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

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More Definitions for illusion

illusion

noun

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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