Part of speech: noun
Origin: French & Greek, early 19th century
A dreamlike state in which images both real or imagined blur together
A constantly changing series of scenes or events that shift in color and intensity
Examples of Phantasmagoria in a sentence
"On the ride home, he unfocused his eyes so that the lights outside his window raced past in a brilliant phantasmagoria."
"The speed at which news happens and is communicated can blur into a confusing phantasmagoria of voices."
Popularity Over Time
In the 18th and 19th centuries, a form of illusionistic entertainment became popular in which ghostly apparitions were "conjured" using a device called a magic lantern. The technique involved projecting a painting or other image onto a glass pane with an oil lamp. To the unwitting spectator, the flame's flicker in the glass produced an eerie, unsettling effect — or a phantasmagoria.
Did you Know?
While phantasmagoria is a direct translation from the French phantasmagorie, its origins actually date to Ancient Greece. As a compound word, phantasmagoria blends together the root phantasma, meaning "ghost," with the word agora, meaning "assembly."