con·​fab·​u·​late | \ kən-ˈfa-byə-ˌlāt How to pronounce confabulate (audio) \
confabulated; confabulating

Definition of confabulate

intransitive verb

1 : to talk informally : chat
2 : to hold a discussion : confer
3 : to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication A major characteristic of brain-damaged patients is the tendency to confabulate—to hide and dissemble about their damage.— Peter R. Breggin

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Other Words from confabulate

confabulation \ kən-​ˌfa-​byə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce confabulation (audio) \ noun
confabulator \ kən-​ˈfa-​byə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce confabulator (audio) \ noun
confabulatory \ kən-​ˈfa-​byə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce confabulatory (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

Confabulate is a fabulous word for making fantastic fabrications. Given the similarities in spelling and sound, you might guess that "confabulate" and "fabulous" come from the same root, and they do - the Latin fabula, which means "conversation, story." Another "fabula" descendant that continues to tell tales in English is "fable." All three words have long histories in English: "fable" first appeared in writing in the 14th century, and "fabulous" followed in the 15th. "Confabulate" is a relative newcomer, appearing at the beginning of the 1600s.

Examples of confabulate in a Sentence

an Alzheimer's support group in which caregivers can confabulate as well as commiserate
Recent Examples on the Web Consider Samuel and Miranda in their hotel’s breakfast area: The personnel dressed in white jackets the next morning were busy confabulating and joking with one another while cheesy loud music was playing in the background. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "“Find Me” Is a Shallow Sequel to “Call Me By Your Name”," 21 Oct. 2019 Then Michael confabulated much longer and more fruitfully. Josh Rottenberg,, "'Blade Runner 2049' writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green on whether Deckard is a replicant and other mysteries," 9 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confabulate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of confabulate

circa 1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for confabulate

Latin confabulatus, past participle of confabulari, from com- + fabulari to talk, from fabula story — more at fable

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The first known use of confabulate was circa 1604

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Cite this Entry

“Confabulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with confabulate

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