Definition of illusion in US English:

illusion

noun

  • 1A thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses.

    ‘the illusion makes parallel lines seem to diverge by placing them on a zigzag-striped background’
    • ‘Hallucinations and illusions are disturbances of perception that are common in people suffering from schizophrenia.’
    • ‘The pub was decked up with a lot of theme decor and bizarre visual illusions.’
    • ‘For more illusions and to understand the science behind them I highly recommend visiting this amazing website.’
    • ‘Vivid hallucinations and delirious illusions may also occur.’
    • ‘This artist is known for creating the most amazing visual illusions.’
    • ‘Pilots are also trained to understand and avoid visual illusions, perceptions that differ from the way things really are.’
    • ‘In any case, puzzle fanatics will enjoy the many riddles, illusions, cryptograms and other mind-benders offered for analysis.’
    • ‘In this sense, the illusions that are attributed to the senses always involve false judgement.’
    • ‘One might suppose that this preview allowed participants to notice and adjust for the effect of the illusion.’
    • ‘They may have been linked to various illusions that can be experienced.’
    • ‘The new technology uses a principle known as ‘wave field synthesis’ to create complex audio illusions for everyone within a defined space.’
    • ‘In addition, not all illusions are completely understood.’
    • ‘Depersonalization, heightened perception, especially to light and sound, and illusions are also commonly reported.’
    • ‘They also experienced visual illusions such as real objects appearing to move or pulsate.’
    • ‘The intoxicated state is characterized by illusions, visual hallucinations and bodily distortions.’
    • ‘I wowed him with an illusion involving a silk scarf and a cup with a false bottom.’
    • ‘Her photos are viewed through an old stereoscope, which creates wonderful visual illusions.’
    • ‘Also, don't forget to take a look at the optical illusions books below.’
    • ‘When we peer out into the world is all that we see potentially a confabulation - a grand visual illusion staged by our brain?’
    • ‘The same is true for visual illusions, hypoxia and other factors affecting interpretation as the brain receives information from the eyes.’
    mirage, hallucination, apparition, phantasm, phantom, vision, spectre, fantasy, figment of the imagination, will-o'-the-wisp, trick of the light
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    1. 1.1 A deceptive appearance or impression.
      ‘the illusion of family togetherness’
      ‘the tension between illusion and reality’
      • ‘So what if the idea is to create the illusion of total surveillance, so that people behave?’
      • ‘The apparent relativity of the moral impulse is an illusion which is created by the mind for the mind's own purposes.’
      • ‘Or at least give the illusion of doing so, until a better idea comes along.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, Britain and Europe are all too eager to pretend that such illusions are reality.’
      • ‘The trick to create the illusion of longer legs is to draw the eye upwards.’
      • ‘However, it also caused an illusion of repetition for items presented only once.’
      • ‘But even today, Romanians still live with the realities behind the illusion.’
      • ‘That, of course, adds to the illusion surrounding the arrangement, which is the idea.’
      • ‘However, you will live in a metaphysical world, where reality and illusions will be so skewed that they will appear to be identical.’
      • ‘The progress of the film is a progress through illusion and deception toward reality and truth.’
      • ‘Its carbon arc lamp doesn't shoot light through filmstrips to create the illusion of movement.’
      • ‘Young men being excited about war is nothing new - and having their illusions shattered by the reality of it is nothing new either.’
      • ‘Behind the veil of these illusions lay a harsher reality.’
      • ‘All my illusions of a perfect family had been shattered.’
      • ‘Does that mean that neuroscience tells us that free will is an illusion?’
      • ‘As illusions fade and the reality of East Timor's predicament becomes apparent, social tensions and class antagonisms will rapidly deepen.’
      • ‘As an historian - certainly as a woman - she had not the slightest romantic illusions about the realities of human life during the long childhood of the species.’
      • ‘There is something about the screen that gives the illusion of trustworthiness.’
      • ‘History was a realm of illusions, a dream or a nightmare from which the wise seek to awaken.’
      • ‘Both audio and visuals support the illusion that Becker is trying to create.’
      appearance, impression, imitation, semblance, pretence, sham
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    2. 1.2 A false idea or belief.
      ‘he had no illusions about the trouble she was in’
      • ‘Believing that our beliefs are illusions, however, is self-refuting.’
      • ‘He gives us a more troubled world, one with few illusions but still possessed of ideals, as Hitler's war machine draws its net around what is left of Europe.’
      • ‘Because if He wouldn't do that, we'd just remain stuck in our illusions, unclear on the idea that God can do it all.’
      • ‘Iyer spoke of ideas and illusions of India, of the mundane in one locale becoming the exotic in another.’
      • ‘Our world will appear to crumble as we know it, as distractions, false voices, illusions and misconceptions will be taken away from us.’
      • ‘We've got to somehow - my own preference is to say we have to understand how we got to the illusion.’
      • ‘I watch icons smash and belief systems shatter and the illusions which have poisoned my mind begin to retreat.’
      • ‘But the biggest illusion is the idea that travelling on your own is all that wonderful.’
      • ‘Its best to let go expectations and illusions about yourself.’
      • ‘The library and police department also keep his number on file, but he doesn't harbor any illusions about his popularity.’
      • ‘People do buy into the illusion that they can experience a little dusting of celeb glamour by lining the pockets of already rich stars.’
      • ‘And yet the abundance of God is a belief that both consoles our fears and deconstructs the illusions that hold us captive.’
      • ‘Man and house are thus a perfect match, as all the characters trapped in their own illusions and false expectations of Sancher end up more hurt than healed.’
      • ‘Participating in new formations alongside leading figures who still have reformist ideas, it is claimed, will spread illusions in people with damaging politics.’
      • ‘Many people today, however, cling to the illusion that gaining material wealth will be the key to all their problems.’
      • ‘To successfully pass this test we must face it properly without false illusions.’
      • ‘‘I don't have any illusions about the importance of writing stories,’ he added.’
      • ‘Liberalism now needs to be liberated from many of its own illusions and delusions.’
      • ‘We were at least under the illusion that we could have an idea, have a style, that wouldn't immediately be sold back to us.’
      • ‘Great acting skills may not be one of his attributes, but then Fardeen is at least not under any false illusions.’
      delusion, misapprehension, misconception, deception, false impression, mistaken impression
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Phrases

  • be under the illusion that

    • Believe mistakenly that.

      ‘the world is under the illusion that the original painting still hangs in the Winter Palace’
      • ‘Progressives have been under the illusion that if only people understood the facts, we'd be fine.’
      • ‘‘No one should be under the illusion that because a plan exists in one form today that it will be that way forever,’ he said.’
      • ‘Postulating that state leads you to surmise that because this disavowal operation swings into place, the spectator must be under the illusion that what she sees at a fiction film is the real thing.’
      • ‘But nobody, including the minister, was under the illusion that this was anything other than pathetic.’
      • ‘I was under the illusion that things were getting better.’
      • ‘Many farmers were under the illusion that an accident can not and will not happen on their farm.’
      • ‘We were under the illusion that you could open the floodgates just as much as we wanted and no more.’
      • ‘If this woman is under the illusion that telling truth to power comes without costs, she doesn't deserve to represent any one.’
      • ‘None of the audiences that came to John Bentley's School Hall for the four nights last week were under the illusion that the show was anything but amateur.’
      • ‘The Popular Unity's supporters were under the illusion that once in power it would fulfil the promise of profound political and socio-economic change.’
  • be under no illusion (or illusions)

    • Be fully aware of the true state of affairs.

      • ‘We are under no illusions about the challenge ahead.’
      • ‘The 8-6 win was hard-fought and Ford is under no illusions that his side might have to grind out another win today.’
      • ‘She says she has been greatly impressed with the efficiency of the Dundee operation but is under no illusions about the challenges facing a factory on the northern fringes of Europe.’
      • ‘But I'm under no illusions, it could be taken away at any point, so I just grab it with both hands.’
      • ‘We had our fair share of the game which is pleasing from my point of view but I am under no illusions how tough my job still is.’
      • ‘In his writing on India, Marx shows himself under no illusions concerning the brutal and mercenary nature of British rule.’
      • ‘The 35-year-old is under no illusions about his situation.’
      • ‘Indeed, she is under no illusions that, left to their own democratic devices, women would freely choose the Utopia she has in mind.’
      • ‘With what's happened over the last 12 months we're under no illusions that we're going in as favourites to win the competition.’
      • ‘Although young, Mr Bowen was under no illusions about what he would have to face on D-Day, not least because he was in the company of battle-hardened veterans.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘deceiving, deception’): via Old French from Latin illusio(n-), from illudere ‘to mock’, from in- ‘against’ + ludere ‘play’.

Pronunciation

illusion

/iˈlo͞oZHən//ɪˈluʒən/