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illustration Phantasmagoria



Part of speech: noun

Origin: French & Greek, early 19th century


A dreamlike state in which images both real or imagined blur together


A constantly changing series of scenes or events that shift in color and intensity

Examples of Phantasmagoria in a sentence

"On the ride home, he unfocused his eyes so that the lights outside his window raced past in a brilliant phantasmagoria."

"The speed at which news happens and is communicated can blur into a confusing phantasmagoria of voices."

About Phantasmagoria

In the 18th and 19th centuries, a form of illusionistic entertainment became popular in which ghostly apparitions were "conjured" using a device called a magic lantern. The technique involved projecting a painting or other image onto a glass pane with an oil lamp. To the unwitting spectator, the flame's flicker in the glass produced an eerie, unsettling effect — or a phantasmagoria.

Did you Know?

While phantasmagoria is a direct translation from the French phantasmagorie, its origins actually date to Ancient Greece. As a compound word, phantasmagoria blends together the root phantasma, meaning "ghost," with the word agora, meaning "assembly."

illustration Phantasmagoria

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