fic·​tion ˈfik-shən How to pronounce fiction (audio)
: something invented by the imagination or feigned
specifically : an invented story
… I'd found out that the story of the ailing son was pure fiction. Andrew A. Rooney
: fictitious literature (such as novels or short stories)
was renowned as a writer of fiction
: a work of fiction
especially : novel
Her latest work is a fiction set during the Civil War.
: an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth
a legal fiction
: a useful illusion or pretense
it was only a fiction of independence his mother gave him; he was almost totally under her powerG. A. Wagner
: the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination
She engaged in fiction to escape painful realities.
fictionality noun

Example Sentences

She believes the fiction that crime rates are up. most stories about famous outlaws of the Old West are fictions that have little or nothing to do with fact
Recent Examples on the Web Links to his fiction, essays, and journalism can be found at Dan Hernandez, Longreads, 28 Feb. 2023 The members of the Sisterhood produced wildly different work across all genres—literary fiction, memoir, travel writing, food writing, and poetry—but the one thing that united their outlook was this refusal to create for that other gaze. Kaitlyn Greenidge, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 Feb. 2023 Sponsored by the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the award honors exceptional work and encompasses fiction, travel writing, memoir and diary. Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2023 He is also known for writing some of India’s finest fiction, including several tales featuring the crafty storyteller Tarini Khuro. Chris Vognar, Chron, 22 Feb. 2023 Some translators attribute that gap to the global success of Anglophone Indian fiction, which has often overshadowed the literature being written in South Asian languages. Alexandra Alter, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2023 Hornby’s book, while fiction, was inspired by real events and real people. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 6 Feb. 2023 Such vagueness leaves a lot of room for interpretation, of course: Period dramas can be fiction or nonfiction, a steamy romance or terrifying horror, a stirring biopic or total fantasy. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, 2 Feb. 2023 Her essays, fiction, and criticism have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Granta, Vogue, This American Life, The Believer, Guernica, and elsewhere. Carmen Maria Machado, ELLE, 30 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English ficcioun "invention of the mind," borrowed from Middle French fiction, borrowed from Latin fictiōn-, fictiō "action of shaping or molding, feigning, pretense, legal fiction," from fig-, variant stem of fingere "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of, pretend to be" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at feign

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of fiction was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near fiction

Cite this Entry

“Fiction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


fic·​tion ˈfik-shən How to pronounce fiction (audio)
: something told or written that is not fact
: a made-up story
-shnəl How to pronounce fiction (audio)
-shnə-lē How to pronounce fiction (audio)

Legal Definition


fictional adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on fiction

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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