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

But in my experience, exploring superhero therapy can be a powerful tool to help clients cope with mental health issues through fiction. Janina Scarlet, SELF, "WTF Is Superhero Therapy, and Should You Try It?," 19 June 2018 What happens in a theater performance is defined by its separation from the actual world, by that proverbial fourth wall, which makes the fiction of the stage real. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Behind the scenes at Music Circus: "The better you are at your job, the less people notice"," 6 July 2018 Even before the invention of the electric light bulb, the author produced a remarkable work of speculative fiction that would foreshadow myriad ethical questions to be spawned by technologies yet to come. The Christian Science Monitor, "AI can have values if not a conscience," 2 July 2018 Looked at today, those once-outrageous 1998 movies seem like dystopian fictions come true. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The Prescient Political Films of 1998," 27 June 2018 To explain that, the fiction offers up anti-gravity repulsorlift technology and the possibility of using deflector shields to give ungainly ships a better, invisible flight profile. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Which Star Wars Ships Have the Best (and Worst) Aerodynamics?," 19 June 2018 That begs one simple question: What is stopping us from taking this story from fiction to fact? Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Wimbledon, Scarlett Johansson, House of Cards: Broadsheet July 6th," 6 July 2018 In West Like Lightning, author Jim DeFelice separates the facts from the fiction. National Geographic, "Why the Short-Lived Pony Express Still Fascinates Us," 23 June 2018 Americans are having difficulty separating fact from fiction. Irwin Stelzer, WSJ, "Charles Krauthammer, a Great Thinker and an Even Better Friend," 21 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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Phrases Related to fiction

fact from fiction

Statistics for fiction

Last Updated

16 Sep 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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