Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Something apparently seen but having no physical reality; a phantom or an apparition. Also called phantasma.
  • n. An illusory mental image. Also called phantasma.
  • n. In Platonic philosophy, objective reality as perceived and distorted by the five senses.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. something seen but having no physical reality; a phantom or apparition.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An image formed by the mind, and supposed to be real or material; a shadowy or airy appearance; sometimes, an optical illusion; a phantom; a dream.
  • n. A mental image or representation of a real object; a fancy; a notion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An apparition; a specter; a vision; an illusion or hallucination.
  • n. An idea; a fancy; a fantastic notion.
  • n. Specifically, in recent use, a phantom or apparition; the imagined appearance of a person, whether living or dead, in a place where his body is not at the same time.
  • n. Synonyms Phantom, Apparition, etc. See ghost.
  • n. In psychology: A memory-image.
  • n. An image of imagination.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a ghostly appearing figure
  • n. something existing in perception only

Etymologies

Middle English fantasme, from Old French, from Latin phantasma, from Greek, from phantazein, to make visible, from phantos, visible, from phainein, to show; see bhā-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French fantasme, from Latin phantasma ("an apparition, specter; Late Latin also appearance, image"), from Ancient Greek φάντασμα (phantasma, "phantasm"), from φαντάζω (phantazō, "I make visible"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • All these we have included under the term phantasm; a word which, though etymologically a mere variant of phantom, has been less often used, and has not become so closely identified with visual impressions alone.

    Henry Sidgwick

  • But I prefer to use the word phantasm as hinting the indefiniteness into which the Soul spills itself when it seeks to communicate with Matter, finding no possibility of delimiting it, neither encompassing it nor able to penetrate to any fixed point of it, either of which achievements would be an act of delimitation.

    The Six Enneads.

  • A notion which corresponds to our word concept was defined as a phantasm of the understanding of a rational animal.

    Guide to Stoicism

  • Like the generality of people who are psychic and who have never had an experience of the superphysical, my conception of a phantasm was a "thing" in white that made ridiculous groanings and still more ridiculous clankings of chains.

    Animal Ghosts Or, Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter

  • Others (pardon me in tracing the institutions of learning and asserting that they were called phantasm, prejudice and blasphemy) have been heralding their pitifully and destructively ignorant doctrine, that the 'Africans spring of the monkey species;' that 'they became black from Ham, who had a curse from his father, Noah.'

    Once a Methodist; Now a Baptist. Why?

  • But visions and dreams, whether natural or supernatural, are but phantasms: and he that painteth an image of any of them, maketh not an image of God, but of his own phantasm, which is making of an idol.

    Leviathan, or, The matter, forme, & power of a common-wealth ecclesiasticall and civill

  • Not so coincidentally also about the CIA, another 'phantasm' that you were deeply deluded about too.

    Heads up staffers, tips to avoid a Health Care "Town Hell" (Blog for Democracy)

  • If there is no external cause, then the supposed object of the impression was a "phantasm," such as a figure in a dream, or the Furies whom Orestes sees in his frenzy.

    Guide to Stoicism

  • Barrowvians, _i. e._ a grotesque kind of phantasm that frequents places where prehistoric man or beast has been interred; Planetians,

    The Sorcery Club

  • In my opinion there is very little doubt that dogs actually see some kind of phantasm that, knowing when death is about to take place, visits the house of the doomed and stands beside his, or her, couch.

    Animal Ghosts Or, Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter

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  • When i woke, the wound had all but vanished, so that for the remaining days of the excursion i lived in fear that at best i'd suffered some sort of massive phantasm, at worst that i was completely losing my mind. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    February 26, 2012

  • Remember the first "The Animated Series" moov?

    December 10, 2006