fac·​ti·​tious | \ fak-ˈti-shəs How to pronounce factitious (audio) \

Definition of factitious

1 : produced by humans rather than by natural forces It seems probable that several of the mounds are factitious.
2a : formed by or adapted to an artificial or conventional standard factitious tastes and values
b : produced by special effort : sham created a factitious demand by spreading rumors of shortage

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Other Words from factitious

factitiously adverb
factitiousness noun

Did You Know?

Like the common words "fact" and "factual," "factitious" ultimately comes from the Latin verb facere, meaning "to do" or "to make." But in current use, "factitious" has little to do with things factual and true - in fact, "factitious" often implies the opposite. The most immediate ancestor of "factitious" is the Latin adjective facticius, meaning "made by art" or "artificial." When English speakers first adopted the word as "factitious" in the 17th century, it meant "produced by human effort or skill" (rather than arising from nature). This meaning gave rise to such meanings as "artificial" and "false" or "feigned."

Examples of factitious in a Sentence

presumably the statue is of factitious marble, because for that price you're not going to get the real stuff the factitious friendliness shown by the beauty-pageant contestants to one another
Recent Examples on the Web And cancer is the go-to disease for those with factitious disorders. Dvora Meyers, Longreads, "The Disease of Deceit," 10 Aug. 2020 Life here feels familiar—perversely, almost easy, if admittedly factitious. Sylvia Poggioli, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, March 23–29," 29 Mar. 2020 And cancer is the go-to disease for those with factitious disorders. Dvora Meyers, Longreads, "The Disease of Deceit," 17 Jan. 2020 Borderline personality disorder is often diagnosed in people who have a factitious disorder. Dvora Meyers, Longreads, "The Disease of Deceit," 17 Jan. 2020 It is also known as factitious disorder by proxy and is a mental health condition which can include when a caregiver makes up symptoms of an illness for a person in his or her care. NBC News, "Texas mother accused of faking 4-year-old son's medical issues," 1 Oct. 2019 Culture wars have grown more factitious, partisan polarization has increased, and social trust has fallen. Fred Bauer, National Review, "Saving Liberty from Liberalism," 17 Jan. 2018 That’s because, for the most part, music is used in movies as sonic wallpaper, covering silences and images with an indifferent and casually factitious unity. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Ornette Coleman’s Inspired Soundtrack for “Who’s Crazy?”," 13 Mar. 2017

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

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First Known Use of factitious

circa 1624, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for factitious

borrowed from Latin factīcius "manufactured, artificial," from factus (past participle of facere "to make, create, bring about") + -īcius -itious — more at fact

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Time Traveler for factitious

Time Traveler

The first known use of factitious was circa 1624

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Last Updated

5 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Factitious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factitious. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for factitious


fac·​ti·​tious | \ fak-ˈtish-əs How to pronounce factitious (audio) \

Medical Definition of factitious

: not produced by natural means

More from Merriam-Webster on factitious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for factitious

Nglish: Translation of factitious for Spanish Speakers

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