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 Using vintage photographs of the neighborhood, Fukuyama assembled them to hang like a chandelier, with light beamed through it to create an illusory effect. Seth Combs Writer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2021 With the Taliban sweeping across the country, storming one provincial capital after another, the prospect that diplomacy would work a year after U.S.-backed talks in Qatar began—and quickly stalled—was illusory. Robin Wrigh, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2021 Ironically, Biden’s mismanagement of the withdrawal from Afghanistan underscored his core point — that US visions of forging a functioning nation were illusory and that many more years of US involvement would not make any difference. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 16 Aug. 2021 The magic that had clung even to the name Guermantes proves to be as illusory as Odette’s Botticelli aura. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 3 May 2021 The 21% statutory corporate tax rate in the U.S. is illusory because it is manipulated by a phalanx of tax lawyers and accountants, resulting in an effective rate around 8%. WSJ, 12 July 2021 Better to rebuild American credibility by standing with our front-line allies, targeting Nordstream 2, and confronting Russia than to pursue an illusory agenda of bilateral cooperation underwritten by U.S. concessions. Tim Morrison, National Review, 14 June 2021 Owners have killed thousands of jobs, never to return, as Facebook and Google gobbled up advertising revenue while luring media companies to chase search-engine optimization, video views, and various illusory traffic metrics. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 16 Mar. 2021 That is, a happy or angry illusory face in an object will be perceived as more similar in expression to the preceding one. Jennifer Ouellette, Wired, 14 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near illusory



illusory appointment

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illusory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for illusory



English Language Learners Definition of illusory

: 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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