Delusion Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

delusion

noun
de·​lu·​sion | \ di-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce delusion (audio) , dē- \

Essential Meaning of delusion

1 : a belief that is not true : a false idea He has delusions about how much money he can make at that job. He is living/laboring under the delusion that he is incapable of making mistakes. She is under the delusion that we will finish on time.
2 : a false idea or belief that is caused by mental illness As the illness progressed, his delusions took over and he had violent outbursts.

Full Definition of delusion

1a : something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated under the delusion that they will finish on schedule delusions of grandeur
b psychology : a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary the delusion that someone was out to hurt him also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs
2 : the act of tricking or deceiving someone : the state of being deluded … accused the Bohemian of having practised the most abominable arts of delusion among the younger brethren.— Walter Scott

Other Words from delusion

delusional \ di-​ˈlüzh-​nəl How to pronounce delusion (audio) , dē-​ , -​ˈlü-​zhə-​nᵊl \ adjective
delusionary \ di-​ˈlü-​zhə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce delusion (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for delusion

delusion, illusion, hallucination, mirage mean something that is believed to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal. delusion implies an inability to distinguish between what is real and what only seems to be real, often as the result of a disordered state of mind. delusions of persecution illusion implies a false ascribing of reality based on what one sees or imagines. an illusion of safety hallucination implies impressions that are the product of disordered senses, as because of mental illness or drugs. suffered from terrifying hallucinations mirage in its extended sense applies to an illusory vision, dream, hope, or aim. claimed a balanced budget is a mirage

Examples of delusion in a Sentence

He has delusions about how much money he can make at that job. He is living under the delusion that he is incapable of making mistakes. She is under the delusion that we will finish on time. As the illness progressed, his delusions took over and he had violent outbursts.
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Recent Examples on the Web The movie’s retro-cool sixties settings were a precursor to Mad Men, and DiCaprio’s Abagnale, Jr. foreshadowed his performances in Shutter Island and Inception as a man trapped in his own delusion. Tim Grierson, Vulture, 14 Dec. 2021 Williams left his network news anchor post several years ago following a delusion of grandeur moment. Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2021 The railroad facilitates a grim tour of the American South, with each stop reinforcing — in its terrifying own way — the supremacist delusion at the heart of the nation’s darkest legacy. Washington Post, 12 May 2021 However, the fact that Ashley seems to find Michael’s behavior somehow less reprehensible is operating on a level of delusion that is not backed up by litigation or camera footage. Shamira Ibrahim, Vulture, 24 Oct. 2021 There’s a kind of delusion that my book speaks to — a kind of a communal madness. Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2021 Anyone who has worked around the courts knows there’s no other way to handle a litigant in the throes of delusion. New York Times, 14 July 2021 Perhaps taking a creative-writing course and turning this delusion into a story would lead to a cure? Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2021 The idea that, eventually, Bannon and the other Trump acolytes will comply with the House select committee, and supply information about what happened on January 6th, is a delusion. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 26 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delusion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of delusion

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for delusion

Middle English, from Late Latin delusion-, delusio, from deludere — see delude

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Time Traveler for delusion

Time Traveler

The first known use of delusion was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near delusion

delundung

delusion

delusionist

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Statistics for delusion

Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

Delusion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/delusion. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for delusion

delusion

noun
de·​lu·​sion | \ di-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce delusion (audio) \

Kids Definition of delusion

: a false belief that continues in spite of the facts "You might be laboring under the delusion that the entire … world is impressed with you …"— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

delusion

noun
de·​lu·​sion | \ di-ˈlü-zhən How to pronounce delusion (audio) \

Medical Definition of delusion

1a : the act of deluding : the state of being deluded
b : an abnormal mental state characterized by the occurrence of psychotic delusions
2 : a false belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that persists despite the facts and occurs in some psychotic states — compare hallucination sense 1, illusion sense 2a

More from Merriam-Webster on delusion

Nglish: Translation of delusion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of delusion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about delusion

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