The lawyer made an allusion that the culprit was having an illusion at the time of the attack. He pointed out that there is tangible proof in the form of medical files that the man was taking medications for delusions because he had a rare brain-disease.

All of these words can be found when there’s talk about magic tricks or when someone’s interpreting art. It is common to mix-up these words, especially illusion and delusion because both of these words describe an image, idea or impression that is not real. Even though the core concept is the same one can rarely replace them in a sentence because the contexts they are used in are quite different. Illusion is an incorrect perception of reality. Delusion is when you have a wrong idea or a wrong belief in something despite having invalidating proof against that belief. A delusion is very dangerous and deceptive when compared to an illusion. An illusion mostly depends on trickery or mistaken observation so it not hostile. An allusion, on the other hand, works like a hint. For example, when someone is suggesting something in an indirect way, he is making an allusion. All of these words are very insightful and open up new dimensions in the reader’s or hearers mind. Let’s delve deeper into their meanings.

Allusion vs illusion vs delusion – definitions, meanings and example sentences

Definition of allusion

Allusion is a noun that is used when someone is hinting at something indirectly. Allusion mostly shows up when celebrities hint at surprises in their upcoming movies, or when something new is going on in their personal lives, for example, when a celebrity couple is about to have a baby or when they’re having a new affair. Novelists and artists also use this word to hint at mysteries in their works so that there’s something fascinating left for the readers or viewers to find.

Example sentences of allusion

  • His mysterious behavior and trembling hands were an allusion that he was hiding something.

This sentence connotes that a man’s mysterious actions and unsteady hands pointed out that he was hiding something very serious and important.

  • When the Principal made an allusion to the child’s absent-mindedness during class his father replied that he was suffering from sleepiness because he had been spending most of the nights talking to his Mum who was undergoing chemotherapy.

The Principal was talking to a child’s father. When he indirectly pointed to the child’s absent mindedness in class, his father gave an astonishing answer. Apparently, the child’s mother was suffering from cancer and the child spent his night talking to his mother and supporting her.

  • Artistic portraits and sculptures in the capitol building in Washington DC make allusions to deep masonic secrets.

It is common for artists to hide riddles or secrets in their masterpieces. It is a known fact that artistic paintings and statues in the capitol building in Washington DC hint at interesting masonic secrets like information about the location of a powerful hidden treasure.

Definition of illusion

The word illusion is a noun that refers to a misperception of reality. The word isn’t threatening and mostly implies to trickery.

Example sentences of illusion

  • Real-life magic is equivalent to casting illusions. Witches or fairies are not making supernatural things happen. Instead, the eye is being tricked somehow and there is an easy scientific explanation behind what is manifesting.

This sentence tells us that magic in real-life isn’t a witch or fairy story. Instead, it is based on illusions, or an alternative perception of reality. Like when the coins in the illusionist’s hands suddenly disappear, they haven’t vanished into thin air. They have rolled into an inside-pocket in his sleeves which is stuck closed so that it doesn’t roll back out.

  • The clown caught the children’s attention by casting colorful illusions and making funny objects appear in a smokescreen. He first made a broken shoe appear, followed by an egg, a bird, and then someone’s wig from the audience, so all the kids burst out laughing.

In a kid’s party, a clown entertained the children. He used colorful smoke and then made funny objects appear, like a broken shoe, an egg, a bird and a wig. What seemed like real magic was a trick because he used the time between the smokescreens to pull out things with a very thin string.

  • At his deathbed, the sick man was having an illusion that his dead wife had returned to accompany him.

This sentence describes an incident of a very old man. While he was taking his last breaths, he saw his wife (who had died a long time ago) appeared beside him.

Definition of delusion

The word delusion is a noun which means having faith in something even though you know it is completely untrue. The word has a hostile ring to it and delusions are accepted as very deceiving.

Example sentences of delusion

  • The mad man had delusions of conquering the world and he narrated false stories of his grandeur to inmates of the mental asylum.

This sentence tells the tale of an inhabitant of a mental asylum who was under the false impression that he could conquer the world. Often, he told fabricated stories as incidents of his life to other mad people who were living with him.

  • ‘If you think he is going to repay the debt, you’re having a delusion,’ the angry woman shouted to her husband.

A woman is very angry with her husband and is shouting at him. She is saying that the person he is trusting is obviously not going to pay his debt and he is under a very false impression.

  • People facing borderline personality disorder are very insecure and have delusions that all their friends and family will abandon them.

This sentence tells the story of borderline individuals which is a mental-health-disorder in which people face abandonment issues. Even when they have true friends and caring family members, they hold false believes that everyone around them will leave them. This insecurity stems from a childhood trauma because a dear one abandoned them when they needed them the most, like a parent or initial caretaker.

We understand that the differences mentioned above can be tricky to memorize. Here’s the final dose of help. An allusion is an indirect hint and works like a surprising element when someone is trying to provide some information. It is a  neutral word. The words illusion and delusion are both false discernments of reality. However, delusion is very judgmental. It is a negative word and is used in dangerous settings. Illusion might also be deceptive, but it is used when there’s harmless trickery involved so it is not negative. It is used in playful or fun scenarios. If you were trying to rate these words in the level of deception or negativity, allusion is completely neutral, illusion is a little more deceptive while delusion is completely misleading.