verb (used with object)

to free from or deprive of illusion, belief, idealism, etc.; disenchant.


a freeing or a being freed from illusion or conviction; disenchantment.

Origin of disillusion

First recorded in 1590–1600; dis-1 + illusion
Related formsdis·il·lu·sion·ment, noundis·il·lu·sive [dis-i-loo-siv] /ˌdɪs ɪˈlu sɪv/, adjectiveun·dis·il·lu·sioned, adjective

Synonyms for disillusion

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for disillusioning

disappoint, embitter, disabuse, disenthrall

Examples from the Web for disillusioning

Contemporary Examples of disillusioning

  • Other high-profile women also became single mothers after disillusioning experiences with men.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Summer of the Single Mom

    Leslie Bennetts

    September 1, 2010

Historical Examples of disillusioning

  • And very soon came that other sensation, so disillusioning, that all else was crowded out.


    John Galsworthy

  • They are a disillusioning mirror in which I see myself a million times.

  • Now, it would seem on the contrary that they devote all their efforts to disillusioning us.

    Ancient Manners

    Pierre Louys

  • It was disillusioning to go to the place where there were many of them.

    Geography and Plays

    Gertrude Stein

  • Happily, the disillusioning fog had come upon us by degrees.

British Dictionary definitions for disillusioning



(tr) to destroy the ideals, illusions, or false ideas of

noun Also: disillusionment

the act of disillusioning or the state of being disillusioned
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

Word Origin and History for disillusioning



"to free or be freed from illusion," 1855, from a noun meaning "act of freeing from illusion" (1814); see dis- + illusion. Related: Disillusioned; disillusioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper