illusion

noun
il·​lu·​sion | \ i-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce illusion (audio) \
plural illusions

Essential Meaning of illusion

1 : something that looks or seems different from what it is : something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real The video game is designed to give the illusion that you are in control of an airplane. They used paint to create the illusion of metal. She says that all progress is just an illusion.
2 : an incorrect idea : an idea that is based on something that is not true She had/harbored no illusions about how much work the project would require. [=she knew the project would require a lot of work] He was under the illusion [=he mistakenly believed] that he was a good player.

Full Definition of illusion

1a(1) : a misleading image presented to the vision : optical illusion
(2) : something that deceives or misleads intellectually
b(1) : perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature
(3) : a pattern capable of reversible perspective
2a(1) : the state or fact of being intellectually deceived or misled : misapprehension
(2) : an instance of such deception
b obsolete : the action of deceiving
3 : a fine plain transparent bobbinet or tulle usually made of silk and used for veils, trimmings, and dresses

Illustration of illusion

Illustration of illusion

illusion 1a(1): a and b are equal in length

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Other Words from illusion

illusional \ i-​ˈlüzh-​nəl How to pronounce illusion (audio) , -​ˈlü-​zhə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for illusion

delusion, illusion, hallucination, mirage mean something that is believed to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal. delusion implies an inability to distinguish between what is real and what only seems to be real, often as the result of a disordered state of mind. delusions of persecution illusion implies a false ascribing of reality based on what one sees or imagines. an illusion of safety hallucination implies impressions that are the product of disordered senses, as because of mental illness or drugs. suffered from terrifying hallucinations mirage in its extended sense applies to an illusory vision, dream, hope, or aim. claimed a balanced budget is a mirage

Allusion and Illusion

Allusion and illusion may share some portion of their ancestry (both words come in part from the Latin word ludere, meaning “to play”), and sound quite similar, but they are distinct words with very different meanings. An allusion is an indirect reference, whereas an illusion is something that is unreal or incorrect. Each of the nouns has a related verb form: allude “to refer indirectly to,” and illude (not a very common word), which may mean “to delude or deceive” or “to subject to an illusion.”

Examples of illusion in a Sentence

The video game is designed to give the illusion that you are in control of an airplane. They used paint to create the illusion of metal. She says that all progress is just an illusion.
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Recent Examples on the Web With interiors, artists have the ability to relate separate images to each other and give a story the illusion of forward motion. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 26 Aug. 2021 Rock-concert banter is often expected to give at least the illusion of spontaneity (even if a lot of arena shows are just as meticulously staged and rehearsed as any play). New York Times, 30 June 2021 To be clear, organizations cannot simply tinker with the edges of a flawed system to give the illusion of progress while avoiding the real work required to address any toxicity and deep structural inequities within that system. Eddie Comeaux, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Towering bookcase painted black and a dramatic Visual Comfort light fixture give this passthrough room the illusion of jewel-box intimacy. Anna Logan, House Beautiful, 17 June 2021 Though Skater Girl may give the illusion of telling one seemingly simple story, Makijany—who cowrote the script with her sister, Vinati Makijany—is really weaving many stories into one. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 11 June 2021 Hanging the curtain rod higher is a trick to give an average-size room the illusion of height. Anne Quito, Quartz, 5 June 2021 Its steep sides and 150 feet of depth can give the illusion to newcomers that its water levels are far lower. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 May 2021 At first glance, the camp's 10 stand-alone pavilions, which are designed to blend in to the landscape, give the illusion of luxury safari tents, with their massive canvas roofs. Travis Levius, Travel + Leisure, 3 May 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for illusion

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin illusion-, illusio, from Latin, action of mocking, from illudere to mock at, from in- + ludere to play, mock — more at ludicrous

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Learn More About illusion

Time Traveler for illusion

Time Traveler

The first known use of illusion was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near illusion

ill-use

illusion

illusionary

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Statistics for illusion

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Illusion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illusion. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for illusion

illusion

noun
il·​lu·​sion | \ i-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce illusion (audio) \

Kids Definition of illusion

1 : something that is false or unreal but seems to be true or real The video game creates the illusion of flying.
2 : a mistaken idea She had no illusions about her chances of winning.

illusion

noun
il·​lu·​sion | \ il-ˈü-zhən How to pronounce illusion (audio) \

Medical Definition of illusion

1 : a misleading image presented as a visual stimulus
2a : perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature especially : optical illusion — compare delusion sense 2
c : a pattern capable of reversible perspective

Other Words from illusion

illusional \ -​ˈüzh-​nəl, -​ən-​ᵊl How to pronounce illusion (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on illusion

Nglish: Translation of illusion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of illusion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about illusion

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