Word of the Day : October 31, 2012


noun FAN-taz-um


1 a : a product of fantasy: as

b : delusive appearance: illusion

c : ghost, specter

d : a figment of the imagination

2 : a mental representation of a real object

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.


The old mansion, which according to local legend is inhabited by the phantasm of an 18th-century resident, is the perfect location for a Halloween haunted house.

"Like the railroads, the cattle industry was a creature of finance, a phantasm of numbers and calculations so enticing and so disconnected from any underlying reality that numbers ceased to be representations and became their own world." - From Richard White's 2011 book Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

Name That Synonym

What 7-letter word begins with "ch," can refer to a monster from Greek mythology, and is a synonym of "phantasm" in the sense of "an illusion or fabrication of the mind"? The answer is ...


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!