One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A figment of the imagination; an illusion or apparition.‘the cart seemed to glide like a terrible phantasm’
ghost, phantom, apparition, spirit, wraith, shadow, presence, illusionView synonyms
- ‘The flickering shadows and darting phantasms on the walls reminded me exactly of some sights I once encountered in a cave in Spain, filled with art.’
- ‘‘It was only a terrible phantasm trying to take root in my imagination,’ he reassured himself.’
- ‘Exposed to the light, the monk's inner demons and the phantasms of his dreams would no longer seem quite as frightening or threatening.’
- ‘Six was a phantom - a ghost, a ghoul, a phantasm, a hallucination, a side effect of Stray's medicine, some unknown effect of acid, something of that sort.’
- ‘They thought He was a ghost, a phantasm, an apparition, a spirit, anything except their Master.’
- 1.1archaic An illusory likeness of something.‘every phantasm of a hope was quickly nullified’
Middle English (in the sense ‘deceptive appearance’): from Old French fantasme, via Latin from Greek phantasma, from phantazein ‘make visible’, from phainein ‘to show’. The change from f- to ph- in the 16th century was influenced by the Latin spelling.
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