fic·​tion | \ ˈfik-shən How to pronounce fiction (audio) \

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

fictionality \ ˌfik-​shə-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce fictionality (audio) \ noun

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

Writers from across the North Shore and Chicago area gathered this month at the Lake Shore Campus of Northwestern University for a three-day institute on writing fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Gina Grillo,, "North Shore writers look to hone their craft at Northwestern institute," 27 Aug. 2019 The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975, and Maxwell spent more than 15 years trying to bring the story of Gettysburg and the rich array of Civil War commanders to life on film. Major Garrett, CBS News, "Why Gettysburg still resonates," 23 Aug. 2019 Write a play, form a theater company, design clothes, write fiction unencumbered by other people’s expectations. Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "Toni Morrison, 1931-2019," 14 Aug. 2019 In January, Mark Sullivan, an author who writes historical fiction and mysteries, relayed a similar story of a career revived by Amazon Publishing. Blake Montgomery, The Atlantic, "The Amazon Publishing Juggernaut," 8 Aug. 2019 Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote fiction that spoke to the soul of the black experience. Sam Gillette,, "Oprah, Obama and More Stars Mourn Author Toni Morrison: 'She Was Our Conscience'," 6 Aug. 2019 Fact and fiction are interminably wound up in Natalia Ginzburg’s novels. Abhrajyoti Chakraborty, The New Republic, "Natalia Ginzburg’s Radical Clarity," 5 Aug. 2019 Further blurring the line between fact and fiction, producers wrote the series finale from Greenpeace’s offices, and the show’s protagonists were trained in nonviolent resistance, alongside actual activists. Washington Post, "In Bolsonaro’s Brazil, woke soap operas are part of the resistance," 31 July 2019 Fact and fiction, after all, are blurred regularly in the world of activations. Todd Martens,, "Immersive TV and movie ‘activations’ are reshaping fandom, but is audience participation going too far?," 29 July 2019

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

2 Sep 2019

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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 How to pronounce fiction (audio) \

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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