New Words : pareidolia

7. pareidolia :

noun :

The erroneous or fanciful perception of a pattern or meaning in something that is actually ambiguous or random.

pareidolic : adjective

Example Citations :

He attributed the belief that the image is the Virgin Mary to a phenomenon called pareidolia, a psychological term for the mind's obsession with finding patterns in essentially random objects, from clouds to wood grain.

Dennis Tatz : Hospital finds crack in window bearing image of Virgin Mary : The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) : September 20 - 2003


This word is a blend of the prefix para-, meaning, in this context, something faulty or wrong (for example, paraphasia, disordered speech) and eidolon (1828), a ghostly image or phantom.

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