fac·​toid | \ ˈfak-ˌtȯid How to pronounce factoid (audio) \

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 This is a fun, true little historical factoid — in actuality, the battle was a minor event historically, but the English spun it into extremely useful propaganda. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Catherine of Aragon is a badass and other The Spanish Princess historical observations," 19 Oct. 2020 In a foreshadowing scene in the airplane at the start of the book, Tessa remembers a factoid without the use of her phone. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Into the Darkness With Don DeLillo," 16 Oct. 2020 Like this factoid: The Jaguar X-type's headlights and hood were inspired by the De Havilland Comet, a British plane that also failed miserably. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "The Worst of a Brand: Window Shop with Car and Driver," 28 Aug. 2020 This lion factoid came up during a conversation about a lion that actually did take over L.A. Tom Mcnamara, Popular Science, "How a 19-year-old lion fathered 35 cubs in 18 months," 27 Aug. 2020 CureVac has made the news recently because of a misinformed factoid that it was being purchased by President Donald Trump. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Tesla Has Been Working On an RNA Bioreactor," 6 July 2020 On-screen popups point out helpful info, such as admission prices and historical factoids. National Geographic, "Top staycation ideas and other ways to globetrot at home," 20 May 2020 At first glance, this is indeed a fascinating observation, the kind of factoid that might appear on the underside of a Snapple cap. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "Four Measurable Ways the Coronavirus Is Changing the Planet," 2 Apr. 2020 Strangest of all was Jimmy Kimmel Live, where guest host Pete Buttigieg geeked out on Star Trek factoids with Patrick Stewart. Judy Berman, Time, "Why Losing Late-Night Talk Shows to Coronavirus Feels Especially Bleak," 16 Mar. 2020

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

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The first known use of factoid was in 1973

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Factoid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factoid. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for factoid


How to pronounce factoid (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of factoid

: a brief and usually unimportant fact

More from Merriam-Webster on factoid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for factoid

Nglish: Translation of factoid for Spanish Speakers

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