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

Loveliness, in fiction, typically graces a pair of archetypes: the angel and the temptress. A.j. Finn,, "Gillian Flynn's 'Sharp Objects' gives women permission to be bad," 13 July 2018 This premodern craving for a world in which everyone and everything has a place surfaces time and again, in the royal nuptials, in feudal fiction, even in the gilded carriage denied Trump. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 2018 Capturing those interior benefits in fiction is a delicate act, and Gumbiner, the managing editor of The Believer magazine, pins a sense of well-being to the page while other times approaching his themes too explicitly. John Williams, New York Times, "Can Handiwork Save Your Soul? A Quiet Novel Suggests It Can," 10 July 2018 Similarly, some of the most insightful allusions to Brexit in fiction refer to it only subliminally, maybe even subconsciously, rather than placing the campaign and its aftermath in the foreground. The Economist, "Brexit is reverberating in British literature," 5 July 2018 Remarkably, DeWitt manages to keep the theme fresh through the power of her style, which is unique in contemporary fiction. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "The Anguished Comedy of Helen DeWitt," 25 June 2018 Forester’s 12 novels about the fictional Royal Navy officer Horatio Hornblower constitute a milestone in naval history and a high point in naval fiction. WSJ, "Five Best: Craig L. Symonds," 15 June 2018 This is the most reliable pairing in crime fiction, the eccentric genius and the awed bystander to it — Holmes and Watson, Salander and Blomkvist, Poirot and Hastings — and the real Horowitz, lurking backstage, plays it perfectly. Charles Finch, USA TODAY, "These 4 new mysteries are guaranteed to heat up your summer," 13 June 2018 At its centre, one of the most familiar, famous characters in crime fiction. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "John Malkovich to Play Hercule Poirot in 'The ABC Murders' for Amazon/BBC," 23 May 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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Phrases Related to fiction

fact from fiction

Statistics for fiction

Last Updated

14 Oct 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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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