phantasm

noun
phan·​tasm | \ˈfan-ˌta-zəm \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of phantasm 

1 : a product of fantasy: such as

a : delusive appearance : illusion

b : ghost, specter

c : a figment of the imagination

2 : a mental representation of a real object

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Other Words from phantasm

phantasmal \ fan-​ˈtaz-​məl \ adjective
phantasmic \ fan-​ˈtaz-​mik \ adjective

Did You Know?

The root "phan" comes from Greek verbs that mean "to appear or seem" or "to present to the mind." Does "phan" bring to your mind any other English words, in addition to "phantasm"? Indeed, this root appears in several English words that have to do with the way things seem or appear rather than the way they really are. Phantasmagoria and diaphanous are examples. Also from this root are words such as "fanciful" and "fantasy," in which the imagination plays an important part.

Examples of phantasm in a Sentence

frightened by the phantasms of his own making believed that she'd seen the phantasm of her father on the anniversary of his death

Recent Examples on the Web

That is, if temple history buffs can raise $500,000 to bring this different kind of phantasm completely into the light. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "What’s behind ’60s-era paneling at El Korah Shrine? A ballroom’s worth of ’20s art.," 12 July 2018 But when the team practices in Alexandria, that bullet hole will serve as a dark reminder of the phantasms which long haunt Eugene Simpson Stadium. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "GOP unfinished business on the ball diamond," 26 Apr. 2018 Entire families of the hairy monsters apparently traveled the base’s buildings and corridors, appearing and disappearing at will, and to the bewilderment of base police sent chasing after the phantasms. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Known Unknown: Tales of the Yucca Man," 25 Apr. 2018 As Susan Owens highlights in her new cultural history of ghosts, phantasms and spirits have assumed many guises and taken up numerous causes over the millennia. The Economist, "The evolution of the ghost," 28 Oct. 2017 There’s about a second of silence as if everyone were holding their breath — then, bam, the room explodes in a phantasm of whirling red lights and soaring music and everyone crying out all at once and lifting their hands in the air. Heather Chaplin, Cosmopolitan, "The Steamy Hookup That Saved Me After My Marriage Died," 7 Sep. 2017 Over the years many have reported glimpsing ghosts and phantasms amid the shadows of this labyrinthine mansion, with its 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 47 fireplaces, 40 staircases, 13 bathrooms and nine kitchens. Karen D'souza, The Mercury News, "Helen Mirren, filming in San Jose, marvels at ‘inspiring’ Winchester Mystery House," 5 May 2017 As for Patty Hearst herself, Toobin treats her as a person, not a tabloid phantasm. Dana Spiotta, New York Times, "The Run of Her Life: Jeffrey Toobin on the Odyssey of Patty Hearst," 10 Aug. 2016 The Thing (1982) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) The Omen (1976) PhantasmHalloween (1978) Friday the 13th American Werewolf in London Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Michelle Diane Mccrary, WIRED, "Introduction to Horror Films — Part 1," 31 May 2012

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for phantasm

Middle English fantasme, from Anglo-French fantosme, fantasme, from Latin phantasma, from Greek, from phantazein to present to the mind — more at fancy

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Time Traveler for phantasm

The first known use of phantasm was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for phantasm

phantasm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of phantasm

: something that exists only in a person's mind

phantasm

noun
phan·​tasm | \ˈfan-ˌtaz-əm \

Medical Definition of phantasm 

1 : a figment of the imagination or disordered mind

2 : an apparition of a living or dead person

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