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

Other Words from confabulate

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

Synonyms for confabulate


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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 fābula, which refers to a conversation or a story. Another fābula descendant that continues to tell tales in English is fable. All three words have long histories in English: fable first appears in writing in the 14th century, and fabulous follows 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, 21 Oct. 2019 Then Michael confabulated much longer and more fruitfully. Josh Rottenberg,, 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 21 May. 2022.

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