- a shifting series of phantasms, illusions, or deceptive appearances, as in a dream or as created by the imagination.
- a changing scene made up of many elements.
- an optical illusion produced by a magic lantern or the like in which figures increase or diminish in size, pass into each other, dissolve, etc.
Origin of phantasmagoria
Examples from the Web for phantasmagoria
Was the bear merely a part of the phantasmagoria of an enchanted region?Peak and Prairie
The rest of that luncheon-party was a phantasmagoria of faces and voices to poor Nelly.Mary Gray
They rose and eddied through his mind like the phantasmagoria of a dream.Fashion and Famine
Ann S. Stephens
He suspected Gordon, and as for the phantasmagoria of last night, he could make nothing of it.The Mercenary
W. J. Eccott
It is one of those memories that enter into the phantasmagoria of the night.The Wasted Generation
- psychol a shifting medley of real or imagined figures, as in a dream
- films a sequence of pictures made to vary in size rapidly while remaining in focus
- rare a shifting scene composed of different elements
Word Origin and History for phantasmagoria
1802, name of a "magic lantern" exhibition brought to London in 1802 by Parisian showman Paul de Philipstal, the name an alteration of French phantasmagorie, said to have been coined 1801 by French dramatist Louis-Sébastien Mercier as though to mean "crowd of phantoms," from Greek phantasma "image, phantom, apparition" (see phantasm) + second element probably a French form of Greek agora "assembly" (but this may have been chosen more for the dramatic sound than any literal sense). Transferred meaning "shifting scene of many elements" is attested from 1822. Related: Phantasmagorical.
- A fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever.