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


causing illusion; deceptive; misleading.
of the nature of an illusion; unreal.

Origin of illusory

1590–1600; < Late Latin illūsōrius, equivalent to illūd(ere) to mock, ridicule (see illusion) + -tōrius -tory1
Related formsil·lu·so·ri·ly, adverbil·lu·so·ri·ness, nounun·il·lu·so·ry, adjective
Can be confusedelusive illusory

Synonyms for illusory Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for illusory

Contemporary Examples of illusory

Historical Examples of illusory

  • It may be remote, it may be hidden by centuries of illusory nationality, but it must be there.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • The fog was making the kind of dimness that has a curious, illusory character.

  • The illusory connection of some insipid narrative is only delusive.

  • The curative effect on bodily disabilities is thus often an illusory one.


    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • Its garments too glistened so much the brighter with an illusory magnificence.

British Dictionary definitions for illusory


illusive (ɪˈluːsɪv)


producing, produced by, or based on illusion; deceptive or unreal
Derived Formsillusorily or illusively, adverbillusoriness or illusiveness, noun


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

1590s, from French illusorie, from Late Latin illusorius "ironical, of a mocking character," from illus-, past participle stem of Latin illudere "mock at," literally "to play with," from assimilated form of in- "at, upon" (see in- (2)) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper