If you see your teacher morph into a dancing elephant, chances are you’re having a hallucination, or an illusory perception. In other words, it sounds like you are seeing things!

A person experiencing a hallucination perceives things that aren’t really there. A hallucination can involve any of the senses — including sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste — and often results from a mental disorder or a chemical source, such as a drug.

Definitions of hallucination

n illusory perception; a common symptom of severe mental disorder

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acousma, auditory hallucination
illusory auditory perception of strange nonverbal sounds
an image vivid enough to be a hallucination but recognized as unreal
visual hallucination
illusory visual perception
hallucinatory perception of colored lights
pink elephants
any visual hallucination arising from heavy drinking
visual hallucination of animals; sometimes occurring in delirium tremens
Type of:
delusion, psychotic belief
(psychology) an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary

n an object perceived during a hallucinatory episode

“he refused to believe that the angel was a hallucination
Type of:
the focus of cognitions or feelings

n a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea

“his dreams of vast wealth are a hallucination
disorientation, freak out
a wild delusion (especially one induced by a hallucinogenic drug)
Type of:
an incorrect conception