Peer Writing Tutor
1. a passing or casual reference
2. an indirect reference
1. something that deceives by producing a false or
misleading impression of reality.
2. the condition of being deceived.
3. an instance of being deceived.
|If something is
said explicitly, it cannot be an allusion or illusion. These
two nouns both deal with the vague.
Both come from
words meaning to play with, according to the
Etymology Dictionary. An allusion plays with words in order to indirectly refer
to something else and to transfer emotional, psychological,
and conceptual content from one situation to another. An
illusion plays with one’s perception in order to deceive.
An allusion is an indirect
reference, a sometimes subtle indication.
I’ve been going around this mountain for forty years.This is an allusion to the Bible
story of Moses leading the Israelites in the wilderness and
around Mount Sinai for forty years.
Notice that it is vital to consider one’s audience when
using allusions. If the reader is unfamiliar with the
material being alluded to, the meaning is lost to the
reader. For example, if you were unfamiliar with the story
of Moses, the example sentence would not make sense to you, at
least not in the same sense the author intended.
On a final note, an allusion can refer to anything, although
it is often used in literature to refer to other literature.
An illusion refers to a misleading impression of reality.
He created the illusion of wearing a tie without actually
The appearance of the subject in this sentence was a false
impression. Illusions deal with appearances. Things appear
one way but are actually another.
Illusions deceive by appearing like another situation while
allusions clarify by connecting to other known situations.
"Allusion." Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved August 20, 2007, from
The Holy Bible, New International
Version. Retrieved August 20, 2007, from
"Illusion." Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved August 20,
Margulies, S., Wolper, D. L. (Producers), & Stuart, M. (Director).
(1971). Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory [Motion Picture]. United
States: Paramount Pictures