il·​lu·​so·​ry | \ i-ˈlüs-rē How to pronounce illusory (audio) , -ˈlüz-; -ˈlü-sə-, -zə- \

Definition of illusory

: based on or producing illusion : deceptive illusory hopes

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Other Words from illusory

illusorily \ i-​ˈlüs-​rə-​lē How to pronounce illusory (audio) , -​ˈlüz-​ ; -​ˈlü-​sə-​ , -​zə-​ \ adverb
illusoriness \ i-​ˈlüs-​rē-​nəs How to pronounce illusory (audio) , -​ˈlüz-​ ; -​ˈlü-​sə-​ , -​zə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for illusory

apparent, illusory, seeming, ostensible mean not actually being what appearance indicates. apparent suggests appearance to unaided senses that may or may not be borne out by more rigorous examination or greater knowledge. the apparent cause of the accident illusory implies a false impression based on deceptive resemblance or faulty observation, or influenced by emotions that prevent a clear view. an illusory sense of security seeming implies a character in the thing observed that gives it the appearance, sometimes through intent, of something else. the seeming simplicity of the story ostensible suggests a discrepancy between an openly declared or naturally implied aim or reason and the true one. the ostensible reason for their visit

Examples of illusory in a Sentence

an illusory sense of security
Recent Examples on the Web Within Wanda’s Westview, an equally sinister witch named Agatha Harkness wants to control Wanda’s magic, eventually taking her illusory or synthesized or wished-into-being twin children, ten-year-old Billy and Tommy, hostage. Stephanie Burt, The New Yorker, "We Live in the World of “WandaVision”," 11 Mar. 2021 Unseen for nearly 20 years, its two projections on a revolving screen, one side mirrored, absorb and reflect illusory fragments of imagery inside a darkened room. Los Angeles Times, "Review: LACMA reopens with six shows that hint to what the future museum will be like," 1 Apr. 2021 For this reason, the security of an extra-length lease is somewhat illusory. Michael Gargiulo, Forbes, "How To Register Your Domain Name For As Long As Possible," 18 Mar. 2021 In reality, the benefits of the nuclear deal were just as illusory as the promise of Oslo. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "There’s No Reason for Biden to Reward Iran," 19 Dec. 2020 But all the comic hysteria on the right doesn’t mean the threat is entirely illusory. Washington Post, "Did Facebook ‘cancel Abe Lincoln’? The truth is complicated — and alarming.," 4 Mar. 2021 But the government’s cohesion proved illusory as soon as major decisions had to be made that went beyond managing the immediate public-health crisis. Marcus Walker, WSJ, "Italy’s Prime Minister Conte to Resign Amid Struggle Against Covid-19 and Recession," 25 Jan. 2021 Sometimes the scales — literal or psychological — can provide those illusory answers. Annie Vainshtein,, "Pandemic fueling a sharp rise in eating disorders, Bay Area experts say," 19 Jan. 2021 To test the strength of his position, Descartes imagined the workings of an evil entity — a malignum genium, or evil genius — capable of creating an entirely illusory but completely convincing artificial world. Washington Post, "The shadowy spirits that helped advance science," 24 Dec. 2020

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

circa 1631, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for illusory

Time Traveler

The first known use of illusory was circa 1631

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Statistics for illusory

Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illusory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for illusory



English Language Learners Definition of illusory

formal : based on something that is not true or real : based on an illusion


il·​lu·​so·​ry | \ i-ˈlü-sə-rē How to pronounce illusory (audio) \

Kids Definition of illusory

: based on something that is not true or real an illusory hope


il·​lu·​so·​ry | \ il-ˈüs-(ə-)rē How to pronounce illusory (audio) , -ˈüz- How to pronounce illusory (audio) \

Medical Definition of illusory

: based on or producing illusion : being deceptive the search for the ultimate cure-all for a hangover has proved illusory— M. L. Herndon

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il·​lu·​so·​ry | \ i-ˈlü-sə-rē, -zə-rē How to pronounce illusory (audio) \

Legal Definition of illusory

: likely to mislead or deceive : false, deceptive an illusory plea bargain leading to a longer sentence than expected

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