Allusion and Illusion

The nouns allusion and illusion sound quite similar, and they both have connotations of intangibility. As a result, they are sometimes confused by writers.

Allusion

The noun allusion denotes a subtle or indirect reference to something (i.e., a hint at something). It derives from the verb to allude.

Examples:
  • The Simpsons is full of allusions to well-known films.
  • His consistent allusions to being so poor as a child are not in keeping with his brother's version of their childhood.

Illusion

An illusion is a false impression or deception.

Examples:
  • It's not an oasis — it is an illusion.
  • I am under no illusion how much work is required.

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