[ huh-loo-suh-ney-shuhn ]
/ həˌlu səˈneɪ ʃən /
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a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind, caused by various physical and mental disorders, or by reaction to certain toxic substances, and usually manifested as visual or auditory images.
the sensation caused by a hallucinatory condition or the object or scene visualized.
a false notion, belief, or impression; illusion; delusion.
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Origin of hallucination

First recorded in 1640–50; from Latin hallūcinātiōn- (stem of (h)allūcinātiō ) “a wandering of the mind”; see hallucinate, -ion

synonym study for hallucination

1. See illusion.

OTHER WORDS FROM hallucination

hal·lu·ci·na·tion·al, hal·lu·ci·na·tive [huh-loo-suh-ney-tiv, -nuh-tiv], /həˈlu səˌneɪ tɪv, -nə tɪv/, adjectivenon·hal·lu·ci·na·tion, noun


delusion, hallucination , illusion (see synonym study at illusion)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a hallucination?

A hallucination is a sensory experience of something that does not actually exist and has no basis in reality. Hallucinations can be caused by mental disorders or toxic substances.

A hallucination often takes the form of visual images or noises, as in Sangeet saw a hallucination of sparkling lights.

Hallucination can also be used to refer to the sensation caused by one of these false sensory experiences, as in Roman was suffering from drug-induced hallucinations.

More generally, hallucination can be used to mean a false notion or belief, as in His idea of what life was like in Canada was nothing more than a silly hallucination.

Hallucination is similar to the words illusion and delusion, which also describe false beliefs or experiences. An illusion is a false image that is a result of a distortion or manipulation of actual things. For example, makeup can create the illusion that a person is younger than they actually are.

A delusion is a persistent, false belief that may or may not be partially based on reality, as in The athlete’s huge ego constantly made him have delusions of being unbeatable.

Example: The explorer suffered from terrifying hallucinations of ghosts and phantoms after eating the toxic mushrooms.

Where does hallucination come from?

The first records of the term hallucination come from around 1640. It ultimately comes from the Latin (h)allūcinātiō, meaning “a wandering of the mind.” Hallucinations are produced entirely by a person’s mind and are not based on anything actually happening outside of it.

Hallucinations are often caused by toxic substances, such as mushrooms, or mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Some of the most common types of hallucinations include feeling like something is crawling on your skin, hearing sounds or voices, or seeing lights or patterns.

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What are some other forms related to hallucination?

  • nonhallucination (noun)
  • hallucinational (adjective)
  • hallucinative (adjective)
  • hallucinatory (adjective)

What are some synonyms for hallucination?

What are some words that share a root or word element with hallucination?

What are some words that often get used in discussing hallucination?

What are some words hallucination may be commonly confused with?

How is hallucination used in real life?

Many people experience hallucinations, and they are commonly depicted in works of popular culture.

Try using hallucination!

Is hallucination used correctly in the following sentence?

The sailor was deceived by the sea monster’s hallucination, which made it appear as a beautiful mermaid.

How to use hallucination in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hallucination

/ (həˌluːsɪˈneɪʃən) /

the alleged perception of an object when no object is present, occurring under hypnosis, in some mental disorders, etc

Derived forms of hallucination

hallucinational, hallucinative or hallucinatory, adjective
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

Cultural definitions for hallucination


A false perception that appears to be real, as when, for example, a man dying of thirst in a desert thinks that he sees a lake. (See also delusion.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.