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

When spoofing, traders place fake orders to create the illusion of supply or demand, causing prices to swing up or down. WSJ, "Market Cheats Getting Caught in Record Numbers," 31 Oct. 2018 Designer Anthony Vaccarello was applauded for an impressive biblical-style trompe l’oeil feature for the 15-minute show that created the illusion of a sea despite the water measuring only 2 centimeters (less than an inch) in depth. Thomas Adamson, The Seattle Times, "Starry Saint Laurent show in Paris sees models walk on water," 25 Sep. 2018 The compelling result reinforces the illusion that the quartet is a larger group. Martin Johnson, WSJ, "‘El Maquech’ Review: Big Sounds From a Small Group," 11 June 2018 The rounded display corners are even replicated below the black status bar, further selling the illusion that there's no notch at all. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "OnePlus 6 Review—A series of downgrades is saved by the low price," 21 May 2018 The focused cast directed by Geoffrey Sherman brings this off illusion seamlessly. David Coddon, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'How the Other Half Loves' ingenious and fab at North Coast Rep," 15 Apr. 2018 To create this illusion of unmediated reality, Kiarostami employed a 12-person special effects team and more than half a dozen animal wranglers. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "24 Frames, the final feature from Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, may send you into a trance," 6 Feb. 2018 The sisters are experts in the art of barely-there fashion, and the small matter of see-through fabrics, carefully placed crystals and confusing illusion pieces just ain’t no big deal in their wardrobes. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Kendall Jenner's Oscars After Party Dress Was Nearly-Naked From the Waist Down," 25 Feb. 2019 This is collusion illusion, there is no smoking gun here. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Trump responds to Mueller’s damning new filings: “NO COLLUSION”," 8 Dec. 2018

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

18 May 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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