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

intransitive verb

: to talk informally : chat
: to hold a discussion : confer
: 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
confabulation noun
confabulator noun
confabulatory 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 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 Confabulation seems to be more frequent in the face of repeatedly unpacking a memory; in other words, someone like EpicJourneyMan, who regularly ordered children’s videos and watched them to find damaged tape, is more likely to confabulate a specific memory from that material. Caitlin Aamodt, Discover Magazine, 16 Feb. 2017 See above for my attempt to confabulate a story linking the three random concepts of a cat, a fire engine and a chair. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 25 Oct. 2010 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'confabulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of confabulate was circa 1604


Dictionary Entries Near confabulate

Cite this Entry

“Confabulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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