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allusion, illusion

An allusion is an indirect reference.

  • Her allusion to the previous administration was out of place.
  • Franz’s allusions were so subtle that his meaning eluded us.

An illusion applies to something which appears to be true or real, but which does not exist or is quite different from what it seems.

  • Danby’s paintings create a striking illusion of reality.
  • The hubcaps of speeding cars appear to be spinning backwards. Of course, this is just an illusion.
  • Canadian income tax was originally intended as a temporary measure. Ah, such sweet illusions!