factoid

noun

fac·​toid ˈfak-ˌtȯid How to pronounce factoid (audio)
1
: an invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print
2
: a briefly stated and usually trivial fact

Did you know?

Did you know that Norman Mailer coined the word factoid?

We can thank Norman Mailer for factoid: he used the word in his 1973 book Marilyn (about Marilyn Monroe), and he is believed to be the coiner of the word. In the book, he 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." Mailer's use of the -oid suffix (which traces back to the ancient Greek word eidos, meaning "appearance" or "form") follows in the pattern of humanoid: just as a humanoid appears to be human but is not, a factoid appears to be factual but is not. The word has since evolved so that now it most often refers to things that decidedly are facts, just not ones that are significant.

Examples of factoid in a Sentence

The book is really just a collection of interesting factoids.
Recent Examples on the Web The show delivers on the cattiness and the glamor and the factoids, like that Capote served everyone spaghetti and chicken hash alongside the champagne. Jackson McHenry, Vulture, 1 Feb. 2024 One more Persol fest factoid: The brand will be represented at the premiere of Gilles Lellouche’s Cannes Film Festival 2024 competition title Beating Hearts, starring François Civil and Adèle Exarchopoulos, who will be a brand sponsor. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 May 2024 Salameh catered to every whim—as most good concierges do—dropping factoids about Manhattan’s landmarks and history during the leisurely cruise up the West Side. Nicole Hoey, Robb Report, 6 May 2024 Best of all, there’s not a drop of corporate mythologizing in the mishmash of factoid and fantasy. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 See all Example Sentences for factoid 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'factoid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

fact + -oid entry 1

First Known Use

1973, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of factoid was in 1973

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near factoid

Cite this Entry

“Factoid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factoid. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

factoid

noun
fac·​toid ˈfak-ˌtȯid How to pronounce factoid (audio)
1
: a made-up piece of information thought to be true due to its appearance in print
2
: a brief often trivial news item

More from Merriam-Webster on factoid

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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