Hallucination vs. Mirage



A sensory perception of something that does not exist, often arising from disorder of the nervous system, as in delirium tremens; a delusion.


An optical phenomenon in which light is refracted through a layer of hot air close to the ground, often giving the illusion of a body of water.

‘optical illusion’; ‘Fata Morgana’;


The act of hallucinating; a wandering of the mind; an error, mistake or blunder.


(figuratively) An illusion.


The act of hallucinating; a wandering of the mind; error; mistake; a blunder.

‘This must have been the hallucination of the transcriber.’;


(transitive) To cause to appear as or like a mirage.


The perception of objects which have no reality, or of sensations which have no corresponding external cause, arising from disorder of the nervous system, as in delirium tremens; delusion.

‘Hallucinations are always evidence of cerebral derangement and are common phenomena of insanity.’;


An optical effect, sometimes seen on the ocean, but more frequently in deserts, due to total reflection of light at the surface common to two strata of air differently heated. The reflected image is seen, commonly in an inverted position, while the real object may or may not be in sight. When the surface is horizontal, and below the eye, the appearance is that of a sheet of water in which the object is seen reflected; when the reflecting surface is above the eye, the image is seen projected against the sky. The fata Morgana and looming are species of mirage.

‘By the mirage uplifted the land floats vague in the ether,Ships and the shadows of ships hang in the motionless air.’;


illusory perception; a common symptom of severe mental disorder


an optical illusion in which atmospheric refraction by a layer of hot air distorts or inverts reflections of distant objects


a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea;

‘he has delusions of competence’; ‘his dreams of vast wealth are a hallucination’;


something illusory and unattainable


an object perceived during a hallucinatory episode;

‘he refused to believe that the angel was a hallucination’;


A mirage is a naturally-occurring optical phenomenon in which light rays bend via refraction to produce a displaced image of distant objects or the sky. The word comes to English via the French (se) mirer, from the Latin mirari, meaning .Mirages can be categorized as (meaning lower), (meaning higher) and , one kind of superior mirage consisting of a series of unusually elaborate, vertically stacked images, which form one rapidly-changing mirage.

‘to look at, to wonder at’; ‘inferior’; ‘superior’; ‘Fata Morgana’;


A hallucination is a perception in the absence of external stimulus that has qualities of real perceptions. Hallucinations are vivid, substantial, and are perceived to be located in external objective space.

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Mirage Illustrations

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