Printable Version
Pronunciation: di-lu-zhên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. (Countable noun) A deceptive or distorted illusion, false psychotic belief. 2. (Mass noun) The act or state of deluding, tricking or being tricked into believing something that is factually untrue.

Notes: US politics has fallen into a fact-free delusional world that makes today's Good Word highly topical. Delusion is derived from the verb delude. It comes with an adjective, delusional.

In Play: Today's Good Word refers to deceptive illusions: "Narcissism usually leads to delusions of grandeur that can cause massive errors of judgment." It may affect groups as well as individuals: "Voters go to the polls under the mass delusion that the winners of the election will carry through on their promises."

Word History: Today's Good word is a minor revision of Latin delusio(n) "a deception", the action noun from deludere "to play false; to mock, deceive". We see in this word de- "(down) from, off (of)" + ludere "to play". This word also is responsible for ludicrus "sportive", which English snitched and only modestly adjusted to ludicrous. Ludere could be the Latin rendition of PIE leid-/loid- "to play, joke around", which is also visible in Greek loidorein "to revile, rebuke". However, since there is little evidence of it elsewhere in Indo-European languages, this may only be a delusion and the word may just as well have been borrowed from the Etruscan language. (Now let's thank Rob Towart for more than a decade of suggestions as good as today's most topical Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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