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or fantasm

[fan-taz-uh m] /ˈfæn tæz əm/
an apparition or specter.
a creation of the imagination or fancy; fantasy.
a mental image or representation of a real object.
an illusory likeness of something.
Origin of phantasm
1175-1225; < Latin phantasma < Greek phántasma image, vision (akin to phantázein to bring before the mind); replacing Middle English fantesme < Old French < Latin as above
1. ghost, vision. 4. hallucination, illusion.
Synonym Study
1. See apparition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for phantasm
Historical Examples
  • It may have been but a phantasm, born of her own fevered imagination.

    All Roads Lead to Calvary Jerome K. Jerome
  • It is a phantasm which has little or no connection with fact.


    William Graham Sumner
  • Yet, that experience had the sharpness of fact; while this had only the vagueness of a phantasm.

    The Millionaire Baby

    Anna Katharine Green
  • Then no exaggeration was too absurd for him, no phantasm too unreal, no climax too extreme.

    Mark Twain Archibald Henderson
  • Perhaps this is true—the world a phantasm and our minds fooling us.

    The Meaning of Faith Harry Emerson Fosdick
  • My first experience of this kind of phantasm occurred when I was a boy.

    Ghostly Phenomena Elliot O'Donnell.
  • A phantasm, in my opinion, is a phenomena that cannot be explained by any physical laws.

    Ghostly Phenomena Elliot O'Donnell.
  • How still and clear is To, a phantasm with the semblance of permanence!

  • Should I bear apples if a phantasm seemed to come and plant me?

    Hypatia Charles Kingsley
  • His presence fainted out into a phantasm, and that into nothing at all.

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
British Dictionary definitions for phantasm


a phantom
an illusory perception of an object, person, etc
(in the philosophy of Plato) objective reality as distorted by perception
Derived Forms
phantasmal, phantasmic, adjective
phantasmally, phantasmically, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French fantasme, from Latin phantasma, from Greek; related to Greek phantazein to cause to be seen, from phainein to show
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for phantasm

early 13c., fantesme, from Old French fantosme "a dream, illusion, fantasy; apparition, ghost, phantom" (12c.), and directly from Latin phantasma "an apparition, specter," from Greek phantasma "image, phantom, apparition; mere image, unreality," from phantazein "to make visible, display," from stem of phainein "to bring to light, make appear; come to light, be seen, appear; explain, expound, inform against; appear to be so," from PIE root *bha- (1) "to shine" (cf. Sanskrit bhati "shines, glitters," Old Irish ban "white, light, ray of light"). Spelling conformed to Latin from 16c. (see ph). A spelling variant of phantom, "differentiated, but so that the differences are elusive" [Fowler].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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phantasm in Medicine

phantasm phan·tasm (fān'tāz'əm)

  1. Something apparently seen but having no physical reality; an apparition.

  2. An illusory mental image.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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