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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web If that turns out to be an illusion, would anyone want the reigning Vezina winner? BostonGlobe.com, 11 Sep. 2021 What really ended was the illusion of living outside of historical chronology. Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2021 The sense that hospitals are filling faster is not an illusion. John Drake, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 There can no longer be an illusion that the ABA is some sort of politically neutral arbiter of professional standards. The Editors, National Review, 26 Aug. 2021 Losing Aaliyah meant understanding that nothing is promised; safety is an illusion and the only guarantee is change. Photo: Chris Walter/wireimage., refinery29.com, 26 Aug. 2021 But when dealing with an animal with its own experiences and drives, control is an illusion. Bethany Brookshire, The Atlantic, 19 Aug. 2021 But nominal wage gains are an illusion when inflation wipes out real gains. Judy Shelton, WSJ, 25 July 2021 That does not mean that the perception was an illusion. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near illusion

ill-use

illusion

illusionary

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Statistics for illusion

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illusion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illusion. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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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 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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