English Synonyms and Antonyms
The old psychology treated of the Reproductive Imagination, which simply reproduces the images that the mind has in any way acquired, and the Productive Imagination which modifies and combines mental images so as to produce what is virtually new. To this Reproductive Imagination President Noah Porter and others have given the name of phantasy or fantasy (many psychologists preferring the former spelling). Phantasy or fantasy, so understood, presents numerous and varied images, often combining them into new forms with exceeding vividness, yet without any true constructive power, but with the mind adrift, blindly and passively following the laws of association, and with reason and will in torpor; the mental images being perhaps as varied and as vivid, but also as purposeless and unsystematized as the visual images in a kaleidoscope; such fantasy (often loosely called imagination) appears in dreaming, reverie, somnambulism, and intoxication. Fantasy in ordinary usage simply denotes capricious or erratic fancy, as appears in the adjective fantastic. Imagination and fancy differ from fantasy in bringing the images and their combinations under the control of the will; imagination is the broader and higher term, including fancy; imagination is the act or power of imaging or of reimaging objects of perception or thought, of combining the products of knowledge in modified, new, or ideal forms — the creative or constructive power of the mind; while fancy is the act or power of forming pleasing, graceful, whimsical, or odd mental images, or of combining them with little regard to rational processes of construction; imagination in its lower form. Both fancy and imagination recombine and modify mental images; either may work with the other's materials; imagination may glorify the tiniest flower; fancy may play around a mountain or a star; the one great distinction between them is that fancy is superficial, while imagination is deep, essential, spiritual. Wordsworth, who was the first clearly to draw the distinction between the fancy and the imagination, states it as follows:
To aggregate and to associate, to evoke and to combine, belong as well to the imagination as to the fancy; but either the materials evoked and combined are different; or they are brought together under a different law, and for a different purpose. Fancy does not require that the materials which she makes use of should be susceptible of changes in their constitution from her touch; and where they admit of modification, it is enough for her purpose if it be slight, limited, and evanescent. Directly the reverse of these are the desires and demands of the imagination. She recoils from everything but the plastic, the pliant, and the indefinite. She leaves it to fancy to describe Queen Mab as coming:'In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman.'
Having to speak of stature, she does not tell you that her gigantic angel was as tall as Pompey's Pillar; much less that he was twelve cubits or twelve hundred cubits high; or that his dimensions equalled those of Teneriffe or Atlas; because these, and if they were a million times as high, it would be the same, are bounded. The expression is, 'His stature reached the sky!' the illimitable firmament! — When the imagination frames a comparison, ... a sense of the truth of the likeness from the moment that it is perceived grows — and continues to grow — upon the mind; the resemblance depending less upon outline of form and feature than upon expression and effect, less upon casual and outstanding than upon inherent and internal properties.
(The whole discussion from which the quotation is taken is worthy of, and will well repay, careful study.)
Poetical Works, Pref. to Ed. of 1815, p. 646, app. [
Troutman & Hayes'51.]
So far as actual images are concerned, both fancy and imagination are limited to the materials furnished by the external world; it is remarkable that among all the representations of gods or demigods, fiends and demons, griffins and chimæras, the human mind has never invented one organ or attribute that is not presented in human or animal life; the lion may have a human head and an eagle's wings and claws, but in the various features, individually, there is absolutely nothing new. But imagination can transcend the work of fancy, and compare an image drawn from the external world with some spiritual truth born in the mind itself, or infuse a series of images with such a spiritual truth, molding them as needed for its more vivid expression.
illusion, fantasy, phantasy, fancynoun
something many people believe that is false
"they have the illusion that I am very wealthy"
fiction with a large amount of imagination in it
"she made a lot of money writing romantic fantasies"
imagination unrestricted by reality
"a schoolgirl fantasy"
Words popularity by usage frequency
ranking word #1996 fantasy #2205 magic #6823 fancy #7167 trick #7999 imagination #13078 illusion #15524 deception #33029 delusion #41420 phantasy #47547 semblance #48084 fondness #66952 partiality #115961 conjuration #162714 legerdemain
How to use phantasy in a sentence?
There are two modes of criticism. One which crushes to earth without mercy all the humble buds of Phantasy, all the plants that, though green and fruitful, are also a prey to insects or have suffered by drought. It weeds well the garden, and cannot believe the weed in its native soil may be a pretty, graceful plant. There is another mode which enters into the natural history of every thing that breathes and lives, which believes no impulse to be entirely in vain, which scrutinizes circumstances, motive and object before it condemns, and believes there is a beauty in natural form, if its law and purpose be understood.
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