phan·​tas·​ma·​go·​ria | \ (ˌ)fan-ˌtaz-mə-ˈgȯr-ē-ə How to pronounce phantasmagoria (audio) \

Definition of phantasmagoria

1 : an exhibition of optical effects and illusions
2a : a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined
b : a scene that constantly changes
3 : a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage

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Other Words from phantasmagoria

phantasmagoric \ (ˌ)fan-​ˌtaz-​mə-​ˈgȯr-​ik How to pronounce phantasmagoric (audio) , -​ˈgär-​ \ or phantasmagorical \ (ˌ)fan-​ˌtaz-​mə-​ˈgȯr-​i-​kəl How to pronounce phantasmagorical (audio) , -​ˈgär-​ \ adjective

Examples of phantasmagoria in a Sentence

He saw a phantasmagoria of shadowy creatures through the fog.
Recent Examples on the Web Saving not just time but effort is key to forward momentum in the industrial phantasmagoria that is, at this moment, blasting circus music into my ears. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Shopper’s Dream of an Optimized Life," 28 Apr. 2020 Their endings are inscribed on their lives, making the city a kind of phantasmagoria filled with the living dead. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Headlong City Symphony," 24 Jan. 2020 Onetti’s style, which can create such lovely scenes of phantasmagoria, can be obscure in other ways. Edmund White, Harper's magazine, "Existential Noir," 6 Jan. 2020 Climax This mind-melting phantasmagoria from Gaspar Noé tracks the mental deterioration of a dance troupe whose communal bowl of sangria gets spiked with acid at a post-rehearsal party. Clark Collis,, "The 10 best horror films of 2019," 23 Dec. 2019 The film becomes a kind of phantasmagoria as you are left wondering what’s real, what’s imagined and whether or not that even matters. Lindsey Bahr, Detroit Free Press, "Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe shine in ‘The Lighthouse’," 25 Oct. 2019 Several theater companies have embraced Act III’s blend of philosophical phantasmagoria and staged it on its own; others have jettisoned it and zipped ahead to the fourth and final act. Eric Grode, New York Times, "George Bernard Shaw’s 6-Hour ‘Beast’? She’s All In," 19 Aug. 2019 Donald Trump – gaudy real-estate brander, reality-show star, educational huckster – has been in the glare just as long (as Clinton), but as a bit player in the national phantasmagoria. Phillip Morris,, "Trump’s tweet about congresswomen offers America a dangerous glimpse of itself: Philip Morris," 21 July 2019 From students to engineers, serial entrepreneurs to singers and lawmakers, the wave of violence continues to leave behind a phantasmagoria of horror, misery, and anger. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "A journalist returned to Somalia to tell positive stories—then terrorists killed her," 15 July 2019

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

circa 1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for phantasmagoria

French phantasmagorie, from phantasme phantasm (from Old French fantasme) + -agorie (perhaps from Greek agora assembly) — more at agora

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Time Traveler for phantasmagoria

Time Traveler

The first known use of phantasmagoria was circa 1802

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Cite this Entry

“Phantasmagoria.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce phantasmagoria (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of phantasmagoria

literary : a confusing or strange scene that is like a dream because it is always changing in an odd way

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