The Word-Hoard: Illusory



1. Causing illusion; deceptive; misleading.

2. Of the nature of an illusion; unreal.

Phantasm and illusion spring up quite frequently in fantastical stories and weird tales. Often they wind up being real, and deadly. “Illusory” may not be that uncommon a word, but it’s one that can be wielded to great effect and in more ways than one. A mirage may be illusory, and so may be a promise or a report.

Not to be confused with “illusionary.” I’m looking at you, Magic the Gathering fans.


Not only Hewitt, but his badly frightened native bearers, had been witness to this startling transformation. And to top the whole thing, to remove it definitely from the realm of illusory phenomena, Hewitt claimed that the man-beast had left, startlingly clear in the soft, wet ground, the prints of the paws of a hyena!

– A. Merritt, “The Drone Man” (1936)



  1. When I went to merriam-webster, under the definition of “illusionary” it had a link to “illusory”. How are you defining them as different?

    And as a Magic fan, that card is the perfect example of illusory. Walls are supposed to be stable, always there. With that cumulative upkeep, it won’t last more than 3 turns, 4 tops if you’re playing mono-blue. So it is giving the appearance of a wall, but in reality it isn’t.

    I now yield the floor to my opponent 😉

      • Wish I could help, but I’m not sure what the problem has been. Is it that you’re not getting emails when I reply, even though you’re checking the box?

        • That is correct. I should be getting emails whenever you reply or even whenever I reply to myself.
          Since you’re not being hosted by wordpress, I don’t get notifications through the wordpress notification bar. So I have to rely on emails and when that doesn’t work, the site doesn’t work.

          • I’ve set up an SMTP plugin, and I have the Jetpack plugin…ugh, confound this stuff. It should just work!

          • Well, it IS working now. I got your comment, the fact that you liked my comment all in my notification bar.

            See, this is one of the reasons I’m really hesitant to go dot com. All these headaches for something that is just a hobby…

          • I hear you. I wouldn’t have bothered with it except that I’m trying to poise myself to build a platform. Might just be a big waste of money, but…we shall see!

    • I think I just worded that thought poorly (and it was probably unnecessary; mostly I just wanted to use that graphic but noticed the card is “illusionary” instead of “illusory.”) You’re right – they pretty much mean the same thing; they’re just different words.

      And that’s a cool observation about the illusionary wall, by the way. =)

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