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 An optical illusion makes my first sighting of Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, through a blur of blades, ethereal. Taras Grescoe, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 July 2022 But beware: This image is also an optical illusion... Richard Malena, Popular Mechanics, 7 Sep. 2022 Reporting from The Conversation reveals that a star's twinkle is an optical illusion. Anna Kaufman, USA TODAY, 24 Aug. 2022 The micro-rotor, meanwhile, was tweaked by Sorayama in order to create a hypnotizing optical illusion (or rippling moiré effect) triggered by the natural movements of the wearer’s wrist. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 19 July 2022 The pants skirt was not the only optical illusion fashion moment Tessa Thompson served this week. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 23 June 2022 Stephen Sprouse optical illusion dress from the 1998 MTV Movie Awards. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 9 Apr. 2022 Risks are minimal, due to the fact that it's supposed to be a brief optical illusion; hence why celebrities use face lift tape for big events and red carpets. Ariana Yaptangco, Glamour, 7 July 2022 After all, a solar eclipse—when the Moon appears to cross the disk of the Sun—is an optical illusion. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 30 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of optical illusion

1763, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for optical illusion

Time Traveler

The first known use of optical illusion was in 1763

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Dictionary Entries Near optical illusion

optical haze

optical illusion

optical inversion

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Statistics for optical illusion

Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Optical illusion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optical%20illusion. Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for optical illusion

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for optical illusion

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about optical illusion


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