Dictionary.com

pareidolia

[ pair-ahy-doh-lee-uh, pair-uh- ]
/ ˌpɛər aɪˈdoʊ li ə, ˌpɛər ə- /
Save This Word!

noun
the illusory perception of meaningful patterns or images of familiar things in random or amorphous data, as a face seen on the moon.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of pareidolia

First recorded in 1960–65; from German Pareidolien, plural of Pareidolie, equivalent to par(a)-1 + eidol(on) + -ia, reinterpreted as a singular noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

British Dictionary definitions for pareidolia

pareidolia
/ (ˌpæraɪˈdəʊlɪə) /

noun
the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features

Word Origin for pareidolia

C20: from para- 4 + eidolon
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
FEEDBACK