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[fan-taz-muh-gawr-ee-uh, -gohr-] /fænˌtæz məˈgɔr i ə, -ˈgoʊr-/
a shifting series of phantasms, illusions, or deceptive appearances, as in a dream or as created by the imagination.
a changing scene made up of many elements.
an optical illusion produced by a magic lantern or the like in which figures increase or diminish in size, pass into each other, dissolve, etc.
Origin of phantasmagoria
1795-1805; < French fantasmagorie, compound based on fantasme phantasm; second element perhaps representing Greek agorá assembly, gathering; see -ia
Related forms
phantasmagorial, phantasmagoric
[fan-taz-muh-gawr-ik, -gor-] /fænˌtæz məˈgɔr ɪk, -ˈgɒr-/ (Show IPA),
phantasmagorian, adjective
phantasmagorist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for phantasmagoria
Historical Examples
  • Are we legislating, or amusing ourselves with phantasmagoria?

  • The rest of that luncheon-party was a phantasmagoria of faces and voices to poor Nelly.

    Mary Gray Katharine Tynan
  • Breathe upon the passion and the phantasmagoria will vanish.

    Amiel's Journal Henri-Frdric Amiel
  • He suspected Gordon, and as for the phantasmagoria of last night, he could make nothing of it.

    The Mercenary W. J. Eccott
  • Lights flash about us everywhere—green lights, white lights, red lights, a phantasmagoria of drug-store bottles.

    Careers of Danger and Daring Cleveland Moffett
  • Perhaps that other phantasmagoria, the Internet, is the solution.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • He found attraction in the Gnostic mysteries, and still more in the phantasmagoria of Judicial Astrology.

    Horse-Shoe Robinson John Pendleton Kennedy
  • If nature had been merely a phantasmagoria there would have been no science of nature.

    Lux Mundi Various
  • But what do we know of the forces which make up the phantasmagoria that we call the World?

    The New Warden Mrs. David G. Ritchie
  • In short, dreaming is synonymous to us with illusion, phantasmagoria, and falsehood.

British Dictionary definitions for phantasmagoria


(psychol) a shifting medley of real or imagined figures, as in a dream
(films) a sequence of pictures made to vary in size rapidly while remaining in focus
(rare) a shifting scene composed of different elements
Derived Forms
phantasmagoric (ˌfæntæzməˈɡɒrɪk), phantasmagorical, adjective
phantasmagorically, adverb
Word Origin
C19: probably from French fantasmagorie production of phantasms, from phantasm + -agorie, perhaps from Greek ageirein to gather together
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 phantasmagoria

1802, name of a "magic lantern" exhibition brought to London in 1802 by Parisian showman Paul de Philipstal, the name an alteration of French phantasmagorie, said to have been coined 1801 by French dramatist Louis-Sébastien Mercier as though to mean "crowd of phantoms," from Greek phantasma "image, phantom, apparition" (see phantasm) + second element probably a French form of Greek agora "assembly" (but this may have been chosen more for the dramatic sound than any literal sense). Transferred meaning "shifting scene of many elements" is attested from 1822. Related: Phantasmagorical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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phantasmagoria in Medicine

phantasmagoria phan·tas·ma·go·ri·a (fān-tāz'mə-gôr'ē-ə) or phan·tas·ma·go·ry (fān-tāz'mə-gôr'ē)
n. phan·tas·ma·go·ri·as or phan·tas·ma·go·ries
A fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever.

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