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  1. Jane G. Tillman

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0535

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Tillman, J. G. 2010. Megalomania. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. The Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The Oxford English Dictionary (1978) defines megalomania as “the insanity of self-exaltation; the passion for ‘big things'” (p. 308). Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs. Often associated with delusions, psychotic processes, or extreme forms of narcissism, megalomania may refer to delusions of grandeur, with a pathological overvaluation of ideas, or plans for remaking the world in accord with the person's own wishes and fantasies. Representing a form of denial and disavowal of the limitations of the self, of the existence of death, and of the power of the constituted social order, the megalomaniacal state may involve omnipotence and grandiosity taken to an extreme. People suffering from megalomania privilege their thinking to a degree where shared reality is abandoned and attempts are made to dominate others.


  • grandiosity;
  • narcissism;
  • psychosis