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[dih-loo-zhuh n] /dɪˈlu ʒən/
an act or instance of deluding.
the state of being deluded.
a false belief or opinion:
delusions of grandeur.
Psychiatry. a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact:
a paranoid delusion.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin dēlūsiōn- (stem of dēlūsiō), equivalent to dēlūs(us) (past participle of dēlūdere; see delude) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
delusional, delusionary, adjective
predelusion, noun
Can be confused
allusion, delusion, elusion, hallucination, illusion (see synonym study at illusion)
1. deception. See illusion. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for delusions
  • Eve, come away, and let us not believe these vain delusions.
  • Let those people keep their crazy delusions if it's what's keeping them happy.
  • Tomlinson's delusions were harmless, and not widely shared.
  • The author comes at her characters from every angle, laying bare their compromises and delusions.
  • Their delusions of grandeur do not extend as far as seeing thing that aren't there.
  • He was skeptical of the morals of industrialists and newspaper publishers but receptive to the delusions of quacks.
  • As the delusions get deeper, so does the gross stuff.
  • Other unusual behavior that could result from use includes confusion, delusions and hallucinations.
  • And it is said that psychotic breaks-with their delusions and, in some cases, hallucinations-can be brought on by great stress.
  • He hears voices, and he suffers from hallucinations and delusions.
British Dictionary definitions for delusions


a mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc: he has delusions of grandeur
(psychiatry) a belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason See also illusion, hallucination
the act of deluding or state of being deluded
Derived Forms
delusional, adjective
delusive, adjective
delusively, adverb
delusiveness, noun
delusory (dɪˈluːsərɪ) adjective
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
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Word Origin and History for delusions



"act of misleading someone," early 15c.; as a form of mental derangement, 1550s, from Latin delusionem (nominative delusio) "a deceiving," noun of action from past participle stem of deludere (see delude).

Technically, delusion is a belief that, though false, has been surrendered to and accepted by the whole mind as a truth; illusion is an impression that, though false, is entertained provisionally on the recommendation of the senses or the imagination, but awaits full acceptance and may not influence action. Delusions of grandeur, the exact phrase, is recorded from 1840, though the two words were in close association for some time before that.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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delusions in Medicine

delusion de·lu·sion (dĭ-lōō'zhən)
A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness.

de·lu'sion·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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delusions in Science
A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness, as in schizophrenia.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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delusions in Culture

delusion definition

A false belief held despite strong evidence against it; self-deception. Delusions are common in some forms of psychosis. Because of his delusions, the literary character Don Quixote attacks a windmill, thinking it is a giant.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for delusions


in psychology, a rigid system of beliefs with which a person is preoccupied and to which the person firmly holds, despite the logical absurdity of the beliefs and a lack of supporting evidence. Delusions are symptomatic of such mental disorders as paranoia, schizophrenia, and major depression and of such physiological conditions as senile psychosis and delirium. They vary in intensity, extent, and coherence and may represent pathological exaggeration of normal tendencies to rationalization, wishful thinking, and the like. Among the most common are delusions of persecution and grandeur; others include delusions of bodily functioning, guilt, love, and control

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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