OTHER WORDS FROM phantasmagoricphan·tas·ma·gor·i·cal·ly, adverbphan·tas·ma·go·ri·al·ly, phan·tas·ma·go·ri·an·ly, adverb
What does phantasmagorical mean?
Phantasmagorical describes something with a dreamlike, fantastical, unreal, deceptive, or shifting appearance, like an optical illusion.
Phantasmagorical is a big and relatively uncommon word, and you may encounter it more often in literary or learned contexts than in everyday conversation. But, it’s also a vivid word, a great way to liven up your vocabulary around Halloween … or when something strange is going on in your life..
Example: The phantasmagorical scenes painted on the backdrop heightened the surreality of the play.
Where does phantasmagorical come from?
Phantasmagorical comes from phantasmagoria, recorded in 1802 as a name for a magic lantern show famously brought to London by Parisian Paul de Philipstal. The earlier French term was fantasmagorie, formed from the Greek words phantasma (“image, apparition”) and, some think, agora (“assembly”). A phantasmagoria came to describe any kind of magic lantern show with projected images.
Phantasmagorical is the adjective form of phantasmagoria found by the 1820s, with phantasmagoric documented slightly earlier. The sense evolved from its original reference to a light show to “a rapidly shifting, startling scene” and then to something with an “unreal” or “surreal” quality, positive or negative.
In political discourse, phantasmagorical is often negative, e.g., a phantasmagorical sense of one’s own power is illusory, misleading. But, if you’re talking about the mood, for instance, of a production of Macbeth you saw, phantasmagorical could compliment the stage effects.
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What are some other forms of phantasmagorical?
What are some synonyms for phantasmagorical?
What are some words that share a root or word element with phantasmagorical?
What are some words that often get used in discussing phantasmagorical?
What are some words phantasmagorical may be commonly confused with?
How is phantasmagorical used in real life?
You may see phantasmagorical used when people talk about visual and audio effects, for instance, in theater, movies, and music. Sometimes it crops up in literary and political discussions.
With the sense of “illusory” or “unreal”:
"My feeling is that white Christian fundamentalism is not about practicing Christianity, it is instead a system that distributes phantasmagorical micro-powers to those who cannot face the real causes of their powerlessness." – @mudede https://t.co/ZWkPWJ7Xb5
— Lindsay Brown (@ounodesign) September 10, 2019
Suggesting something “confusing” or “disconcerting” in its effect:
Trey Edward Shults' WAVES (***) portrays victims & survivors of toxic masculinity thru phantasmagorical camerawork, shifting aspect ratios, and an upfront Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross soundtrack. Powerful performances carry the zigzag narrative to the finish line. #TIFF19 #TIFF2019
— What if…? (@DelfTerry) September 11, 2019
Phantasmagorical as “dream-like”:
Here’s another song I wrote over the summer… This one’s called “Cold Water” and I was going for some dreamier more phantasmagorical qualities, lemme know what you think!
P.S. pals, I’m gonna throw down a Dylan… https://t.co/x695rvZt12
— Calista Garcia (@calista_music) September 12, 2019
Try using phantasmagorical!
Imagine you’re going to a concert by a psychedelic band that projects “trippy” images on the ceiling. Use phantasmagorical in a sentence to describe the show to your friends.