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Borrowed from Old French fantasme, from Latin phantasma (an apparition, specter; (in Late Latin also) appearance, image), from Ancient Greek φάντασμα (phántasma, phantasm, an appearance, image, apparition, specter), from φαντάζω (phantázō, I make visible). Doublet of phantom.


  • IPA(key): /ˈfæntæzəm/
  • Hyphenation: phan‧tasm


phantasm (plural phantasms)

  1. something seen but having no physical reality; a phantom or apparition.
    • 1900, Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Avon Books, (translated by James Strachey) pg. 74:
      He declares that there seems to be no justification for regarding the phantasms of dreams as pure hallucinations; most dream-images are probably in fact illusions, since they arise from faint sense-impressions, which never cease during sleep.

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