noun fic·tion \ ˈfik-shən \
Updated on: 19 Mar 2018

Definition of fiction

1 a : 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.
2 a : 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.


play \ˈfik-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective


play \ˌfik-shə-ˈna-lə-tē\ noun


play \ˈfik-shnə-lē, -shə-nᵊl-ē\ adverb

Examples of fiction in a Sentence

  1. She believes the fiction that crime rates are up.

  2. most stories about famous outlaws of the Old West are fictions that have little or nothing to do with fact

Recent Examples of fiction from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

FICTION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of fiction for English Language Learners

  • : 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

FICTION Defined for Kids


noun fic·tion \ ˈfik-shən \

Definition of fiction for Students

1 : something told or written that is not fact
2 : a made-up story
3 : works of literature that are not true stories

Word Root of fiction

The Latin word fingere, meaning “to shape” or “to mold,” and its form fictus give us the roots fig and fict. Words from the Latin fingere have something to do with shaping. The figure of something, especially a person's body, is its shape. To disfigure is to change the shape and ruin the looks of something. Fiction is something written that is not fact but is shaped by the imagination.

Law Dictionary


noun fic·tion

legal Definition of fiction



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