factoid

noun
fac·​toid | \ˈfak-ˌtȯid \

Definition of factoid 

1 : an invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print

2 : a briefly stated and usually trivial fact

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Did you know that Norman Mailer coined the word factoid?

We can thank Norman Mailer for the word factoid; he coined the term in his 1973 book Marilyn, about Marilyn Monroe. In the book, Mailer explains that factoids are "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority." In creating his coinage, Mailer relied on "-oid," a suffix that traces back to the ancient Greek word eidos, meaning "appearance" or "form." Mailer followed in a long tradition when he chose "-oid"; English speakers have been making words from "-oid" since at least the late 16th century.

Examples of factoid in a Sentence

The book is really just a collection of interesting factoids.

Recent Examples on the Web

Both pepper the tour with factoids and insider secrets about the story (no real Rolf? Andrew Bender, latimes.com, "In Salzburg, Austria, the hills are alive with the sound of tourists," 8 July 2018 Your date should be able to set expectations and decide what kind of future is possible with you, so don’t shy away from disclosing these personal factoids. Beca Grimm, GQ, "15 Things You Should Disclose on a First Date," 14 June 2018 Anne Nickoloff has uncovered these and many other factoids. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction guide: What you need to know," 13 Apr. 2018 Here’s a factoid for techies: instead of engine oil pressure, an electric motor now handles the variable valve timing on the exhaust side. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "2019 Toyota Corolla five-door brings latest safety tech to the masses," 26 May 2018 Children on tricycles and scooters paused to stare while their parents offered factoids about the animals. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘They’re kind of mesmerizing’: These nine goats draw spectators while clearing an overgrown Maryland park," 25 May 2018 But the factoid begs the question why Camilla was there at all. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Camilla Parker Bowles Was at Prince Charles and Princess Diana's Royal Wedding," 24 May 2018 It is studded with factoids and research findings that readers will no doubt find interesting, but Ms. Moyo could have been more discriminating, and skeptical, in some of her choices. George Melloan, WSJ, "‘Edge of Chaos’ Review: A System in Need of an Overhaul," 24 Apr. 2018 Come for the views and factoids — stay for the stories. Natalina Lopez, Town & Country, "A Guide to Mayfair, London's Poshest Neighborhood," 15 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'factoid.' 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 factoid

1973, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for factoid

fact + -oid;1

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Time Traveler for factoid

The first known use of factoid was in 1973

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More Definitions for factoid

factoid

noun

English Language Learners Definition of factoid

: a brief and usually unimportant fact

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