optical illusion

plural optical illusions

Definition of optical illusion

: a misleading image presented to the vision Zebras look like optical illusions to me. Which are they—black with white stripes or white with black stripes?— Al Robinson The sun, moon, and planets circle above the terrestrial plane in the region of the equator. Their apparent rising and setting is an optical illusion caused by atmospheric refraction …Ranger Rick

Examples of optical illusion in a Sentence

The closer building looks larger than the farther one, but it's just an optical illusion. The two buildings are actually the same size.

Recent Examples on the Web

All interlock to create an optical illusion that makes my brain hurt (in a good way). 8. Devon Abelman, Allure, "13 Unexpected Ways to Wear Winged Eyeliner That Are Taking Over Instagram," 14 Sep. 2018 The dress, which is from Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring 1996 collection, transformed Kim into a walking optical illusion—accentuating her famous curves in the process. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian’s People’s Choice Awards Dress May Hypnotize You," 12 Nov. 2018 But a new hotel in Guilin, China, is bringing the artist’s vision to life with a pair of guesthouses dedicated to optical illusions. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "These hotel rooms look like trippy M.C. Escher drawings," 3 Dec. 2018 The look in question is an optical illusion that involves flipping your entire head, erm, on its head using makeup. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "This "Upside Down Head" Scary Halloween Makeup Is Absolutely Terrifying," 13 Oct. 2018 By the time the addictive, shuffling beat kicks in, the optical illusions commence as Grande then struts onto the ceiling. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Ariana Grande's World Turns Upside Down in Futuristic 'No Tears Left To Cry' Video: Watch," 20 Apr. 2018 This data, however, creates a sort of optical illusion, the researchers said. Samantha Mathewson, Space.com, "Huge Solar 'Tornadoes' Don't Spin After All, Study Shows," 11 Apr. 2018 Sin is able to create this particular form of optical illusion thanks to a technique known as focus blur. Anna Goldwater Alexander, WIRED, "Look Closely: These Aren't Flowers—They're Fireworks," 2 July 2018 Her bandana had optical illusion qualities with a wavy black and red stripe. Alyssa Hardy, Teen Vogue, "Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber Walk the Alexander Wang Spring / Summer 2019 Fashion Show," 4 June 2018

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

1763, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for optical illusion

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for optical illusion

The first known use of optical illusion was in 1763

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More Definitions for optical illusion

optical illusion


English Language Learners Definition of optical illusion

: something that looks different from what it is : something that you seem to see but that is not really there

optical illusion


Kids Definition of optical illusion

: something that looks different from what it actually is

optical illusion


Medical Definition of optical illusion

: visual perception of a real object in such a way as to misinterpret its actual nature

More from Merriam-Webster on optical illusion

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about optical illusion

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