View synonyms for illusory


[ ih-loo-suh-ree, -zuh- ]


  1. causing illusion; deceptive; misleading.

    Synonyms: false, specious, fallacious

  2. of the nature of an illusion; unreal.

    Synonyms: fancied, visionary, imaginary


/ ɪˈluːsərɪ; ɪˈluːsɪv /


  1. producing, produced by, or based on illusion; deceptive or unreal

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Illusive is sometimes wrongly used where elusive is meant: they fought hard, but victory remained elusive (not illusive )
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Derived Forms

  • ilˈlusoriness, noun
  • ilˈlusorily, adverb
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Other Words From

  • il·luso·ri·ly adverb
  • il·luso·ri·ness noun
  • unil·luso·ry adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of illusory1

1590–1600; < Late Latin illūsōrius, equivalent to illūd ( ere ) to mock, ridicule ( illusion ) + -tōrius -tory 1
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Example Sentences

On issues such as vaccines, climate change and corporate taxation, a host of individual and institutional actors now seem dogmatically chained to unreason as they pursue real or illusory power.

For SARS-CoV-2, herd immunity is unfortunately more illusory.

In many senses, declaring time to be illusory was the low-hanging fruit.

Even better, there was a 1988 study that used the Kanizsa square to investigate the susceptibility of two young female cats to illusory contours.

Many recent studies have found similar effects for repetition, a phenomenon sometimes called the “illusory truth effect.”

We still seem driven by hype, by illusory health scares and benefits, by pomp, by the new and trendy, than by taste.

However illusory the “missile gap” may have been, it is striking that a liberal icon so firmly stood for peace through strength.

Failing to make an omelet hardly proves that omelets are illusory if nobody has been willing to break some eggs along the way.

Even in healthier states experts warn that the improvement could be illusory.

The reality is that it wiped out a lot of illusory gains and replaced them with a lot of illusory losses.

Forcing himself to believe that he had been the victim of some kind of illusory perception, he vigorously restrained his feelings.

So these walls and appurtenances made an illusory sort of intrusion into the true vision on which he gazed.

Across the illusory positiveness of his world—immaterial, psychological, ghostly—an intermediate orb—a tangible shadow was thrown.

Upon closer examination of the little town we found that the first impression, gained from a distance, was illusory.

He argues briefly that the alternative systems are illusory because they refer to no 'external standard.'