illusion


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

illusion

(Deception), noun aberration, distortion, fallacy, false impression, misbelief, misconception

illusion

(Impression), noun apparition, artifice, chimera, daydream, deception, delusion, dream, figment, masquerade, mirage, myth, optical illusion, phantasm, phantasmagoria, phantom, semblance, specter, spirit, vision, wraith
See also: artifice, deception, distortion, fallacy, figment, phantom, prestidigitation, semblance, specter, vision

ILLUSION. A species of mania in which the sensibility of the nervous system is altered, excited, weakened or perverted. The patient is deceived by the false appearance of things, and his reason is not sufficiently active and powerful to correct the error, and this last particular is what distinguishes the sane from the insane. Illusions are not unfrequent in a state of health, but reason corrects the errors and dissipates them. A square tower seen from a distance may appear round, but on approaching it, the error is corrected. A distant mountain may be taken for a cloud, but as we approach, we discover the truth. To a person in the cabin of a vessel under sail, the shore appears to move; but reflection and a closer examination soon destroy this illusion. An insane individual is mistaken on the qualities, connexions, and causes of the impressions he actually receives, and he forms wrong judgments as to his internal and external sensations; and his reason does not correct the error. 1 Beck's Med. Jur. 538; Esquirol, Maladies Mentales, prem. partie, III., tome 1, p. 202. Dict. des Sciences Medicales, Hallucination, tome 20, p. 64. See Hallucination.

References in classic literature ?
True, no doubt," said Don Fernando, "for which reason, Senor Don Quixote, you ought to forgive him and restore him to the bosom of your favour, sicut erat in principio, before illusions of this sort had taken away his senses.
The entire ship's crew were undergoing a nervous excitement, of which I can give no idea: they could not eat, they could not sleep--twenty times a day, a misconception or an optical illusion of some sailor seated on the taffrail, would cause dreadful perspirations, and these emotions, twenty times repeated, kept us in a state of excitement so violent that a reaction was unavoidable.
At all events, man or devil, body or shadow, illusion or reality, this man is born for my damnation; for his flight has caused us to miss a glorious affair, gentlemen--an affair by which there were a hundred pistoles, and perhaps more, to be gained.
Finally ten months and a half had gone by and no favorable change had taken place, and Dantes began to fancy the inspector's visit but a dream, an illusion of the brain.
The youth's friend had a geographical illusion concerning a stream, and he obtained permission to go for some water.
Still, whatever the greatness of my illusion, the fact remained that the real commander was there, backing up my self-confidence, though invisible to my eyes behind a maple-wood veneered cabin-door with a white china handle.
Had I been passionless, the evil blow would have done only bodily evil - a scar, or a bruise - which is illusion.
But so far was she from being, in the words of Robert South, "in love with her own ruin," that the illusion was transient as lightning; cold reason came back to mock her spasmodic weakness; the ghastliness of her momentary pride would convict her, and recall her to reserved listlessness again.
Of their elders some, by imitating the antics of youth, strive to persuade themselves that their day is not yet over; they shout with the lustiest, but the war cry sounds hollow in their mouth; they are like poor wantons attempting with pencil, paint and powder, with shrill gaiety, to recover the illusion of their spring.
It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.
Of course one knows; why, one's always taking care not to destroy the illusion.
She told herself that she longed greatly to go back to those dear merry days when life was seen through a rosy mist of hope and illusion, and possessed an indefinable something that had passed away forever.