fic·​tion | \ˈfik-shən \

Definition of fiction 

1a : 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

b : fictitious literature (such as novels or short stories) was renowned as a writer of fiction

c : a work of fiction especially : novel Her latest work is a fiction set during the Civil War.

2a : an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth a legal fiction

b : a useful illusion or pretense it was only a fiction of independence his mother gave him; he was almost totally under her power— G. A. Wagner

3 : the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination She engaged in fiction to escape painful realities.

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Other Words from fiction

fictional \ˈfik-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
fictionality \ˌfik-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē \ noun
fictionally \ˈfik-​shnə-​lē, -​shə-​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for fiction


fable, fabrication, fantasy (also phantasy), figment, invention


fact, materiality, reality

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Examples of fiction in a Sentence

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

In a separate paper, Dr. Barabási, Burcu Yucesoy and others examined eight years of New York Times Best Sellers, a total of 2,468 hardcover fiction and 2,025 nonfiction books, to determine what distinguished those volumes. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Aiming to Write a Best Seller? Timing Helps," 30 Nov. 2018 Through fiction and nonfiction prose, these books look at life through a kaleidoscope of experience, tackling often difficult issues that helped define 2018—for better or for worse (or maybe a little of both). Nina Bahadur, SELF, "21 Best Books of 2018 to Buy for the Bookworm in Your Life," 15 Nov. 2018 White has written 27 previous books, both fiction and nonfiction. New York Times, "What Edmund White Thinks You Should Read," 3 July 2018 Another first for the lab includes combining fiction and documentary films into one program under the initiative of the Institute’s Film Music Program, Feature Film Program and Documentary Film Program. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "BMI Continues Support of Sundance Institute Film Composers Program With Music & Sound Design Lab," 28 June 2018 And what is the connection between art criticism and reportage and fiction and poetry? Frederick N. Rasmussen,, "Elisabeth S. Schleussner, former Baltimore Sun art and architecture critic," 27 June 2018 The story chronicles the challenges between fact and fiction, as embodied by the declining Edward Bloom and his distant son, who craves to hear the truth about his father’s life instead of fairy tales. Kt Hawbaker,, "Boho Theatre announces its new home and its lineup for the 2019 season, including a revival of 'Big Fish'," 25 June 2018 Read more about the facts and fiction surrounding family separation here. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Rachel Maddow Breaks Down on Air While Discussing Trump's 'Tender Age' Shelters for Immigrant Babies," 20 June 2018 Many women are interested in books about law, prison memoirs and fiction and Spanish language publications. Hannah Steinkopf-frank, RedEye Chicago, "Chicago in action: Give back to the city with these three volunteer organizations," 14 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of fiction

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

History and Etymology for fiction

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

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Statistics for fiction

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for fiction

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

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More Definitions for fiction



English Language Learners Definition of fiction

: written stories about people and events that are not real : literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer

: something that is not true


fic·​tion | \ˈfik-shən \

Kids Definition of fiction

1 : something told or written that is not fact

2 : a made-up story

3 : works of literature that are not true stories



Legal Definition of fiction 

Other Words from fiction

fictional adjective

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Comments on fiction

What made you want to look up fiction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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