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First known use of 'pareidolia' says 1962, from German ‘pareidolie’ says 1960’s gives no result.

Does anyone have any other information??


  • The OED says much the same

    Origin: A borrowing from German. Etymon: German Pareidolien.
    Etymology: Originally, as plural noun < German Pareidolien, plural (1863; singular Pareidolie ) < para- para- prefix1 + ancient Greek εἴδωλον eidolon n. + German -ien -ia suffix2.

    Subsequently reinterpreted as a singular noun; compare -ia suffix1.


    The perception of recognizable patterns or images, in random or vague arrangements of shapes, lines, colours, etc. Also in extended use.

    Sometimes used as a count noun with plural concord.

    1962 J. Hoenig & M. W. Hamilton tr. K. T. Jaspers Gen. Psychopathol. i. 65 There are three types of illusions (illusions due to inattentiveness, illusions due to affect and pareidolia [Ger. Pareidolien]).

    This earliest quote is a translation, no doubt from a German original. The next quotation is from 1975.

    Unlike many entries, this is a Third Edition upgrade — and a very recent one, dated Jun 2018.

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