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

  • n. An erroneous perception of reality.
  • n. An erroneous concept or belief.
  • n. The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief.
  • n. Something, such as a fantastic plan or desire, that causes an erroneous belief or perception.
  • n. Illusionism in art.
  • n. A fine transparent cloth, used for dresses or trimmings.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Anything that seems to be something that it is not.
  • n. A misapprehension; a belief in something that is in fact not true.
  • n. A magician’s trick.
  • n. this sense?) (uncountable) The fact of being an illusion (in any of the above senses).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An unreal image presented to the bodily or mental vision; a deceptive appearance; a false show; mockery; hallucination.
  • n. Hence: Anything agreeably fascinating and charming; enchantment; witchery; glamour.
  • n. A sensation originated by some external object, but so modified as in any way to lead to an erroneous perception; as when the rolling of a wagon is mistaken for thunder.
  • n. A plain, delicate lace, usually of silk, used for veils, scarfs, dresses, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which illudes or deceives; an unreal vision presented to the bodily or mental eye; deceptive appearance; false show.
  • n. Specifically In psychology, a false perception due to the modification of a true perception by the imagination: distinguished from false appearances due to the imperfection of the bodily organs of sense, such as irradiation, and from hallucinations, into which no true perception enters. See hallucination, 2.
  • n. The act of deceiving or imposing upon any one; deception; delusion; mockery.
  • n. A thin and very transparent kind of tulle.
  • n.
  • n. In the pictorial arts, an imitation of the appearance of nature which is intended to create the impression of reality.

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

  • n. an erroneous mental representation
  • n. an illusory feat; considered magical by naive observers
  • n. something many people believe that is false
  • n. the act of deluding; deception by creating illusory ideas


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

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin illūsiō, illūsiōn-, from Latin, a mocking, irony, from illūsus, past participle of illūdere, to mock : in-, against; + lūdere, to play.


  • Of course the symptoms are occurring: the term illusion refers to our interpretation of the meaning of the physical symptoms, not the existence of physical symptoms per se.

    The Sacred Promise

  • It is not, however, clear that the term illusion is justified; for this supposes a distinction between truth and error-a distinction which has no meaning for the genuine pantheist; all our judgments being the utterance of the One that thinks in us, it is impossible to discriminate the true from the false.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11: New Mexico-Philip

  • Murray, like nearly everyone else, could not solve the riddle posed by Nadal's blend of power, hustle and desire: a crucial word that he translates directly from the Spanish when he speaks English, using the term "illusion."

    NYT > Home Page

  • In evincing the impossibility of delusion, he makes no sufficient allowance for an intermediate state, which I have before distinguished by the term illusion, and have attempted to illustrate its quality and character by reference to our mental state when dreaming.

    Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher

  • Photography flattens sculpture and stills its spatial violence, but Smith found that it also exposed new aspects of what he called the 'illusion of form.'

    Photo-Op: Ironman

  • I'm saying that you're moronic AWOL argument has been thoroughly blasted out of the water, and your persistance of this illusion is amazing.

    Time to impeach?

  • As in painting, so more particularly in sculpture, that imitation of nature which we call illusion, is in no respect its excellence, nor indeed its aim.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 53, No. 328, February, 1843

  • A special word is necessary at this point regarding the term illusion, as it is used here and elsewhere.

    Man or Matter

  • The money illusion is a fraud, but seems really hard wired.

    Matthew Yglesias » (Part of) The Case for Higher Inflation

  • Another right-wing illusion is that there is no yoke.

    Matthew Yglesias » Krauthammer’s Amateur Sociology


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  • No, the other way round! Only the past is real. The present is a sensation, the future a diversion.

    October 6, 2012

  • The nonexistent "Then" and the nonexistent "Later"are illusions / constructs of the mind that are constantly mistaken for the real thing : the incredible, concrete "Now"

    October 5, 2012

  • The nonexistent "Then"and the nonexistent "Later"are

    The nonexistent "Then" and the nonexistent "Later"are illusions / constructs of the mind that are constantly mistaken for the real thing : the incredible "Now"

    October 5, 2012

  • JM proposes that we are able to walk on air, but only as long as our illusion supports us

    August 26, 2011

  • Michael: So .. this is the magic trick, huh?

    Gob: "Illusion," Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money. ... or candy.

    April 6, 2009

  • Illusion is the first of all pleasures. - Oscar Wilde

    March 8, 2009

  • "Ford," said Arthur, "would you please tell me what the hell is going on?"

    "Drink up," said Ford, "you've got three pints to get through."

    "Three pints?" said Arthur. "At lunchtime?"

    The man next to Ford grinned and nodded happily. Ford ignored him. He said, "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

    - Douglas Adams, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy'.

    February 8, 2009