fic·​ti·​tious fik-ˈti-shəs How to pronounce fictitious (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of fiction : imaginary
fictitious events described in his novel
: conventionally or hypothetically assumed or accepted
a fictitious concept
of a name : false, assumed
: not genuinely felt
fictitiously adverb
fictitiousness noun

Did you know?

Fictitious is related to the Medieval Latin word fictīcius, meaning "artificial," "imaginary," "feigned," or "fraudulent." It was first used in English as an antonym for natural. For instance, a fake diamond would be referred to as a fictitious one. This use indicates the word's deeper Latin roots: fictīcius is from the Latin verb fingere, meaning "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of; pretend to be." Nowadays, fictitious is no longer used for physical things shaped by the human hand. Rather, it is typically used for imaginative creations or for feigned emotions.

Choose the Right Synonym for fictitious

fictitious, fabulous, legendary, mythical, apocryphal mean having the nature of something imagined or invented.

fictitious implies fabrication and suggests artificiality or contrivance more than deliberate falsification or deception.

fictitious characters

fabulous stresses the marvelous or incredible character of something without necessarily implying impossibility or actual nonexistence.

a land of fabulous riches

legendary suggests the elaboration of invented details and distortion of historical facts produced by popular tradition.

the legendary exploits of Davy Crockett

mythical implies a purely fanciful explanation of facts or the creation of beings and events out of the imagination.

mythical creatures

apocryphal implies an unknown or dubious source or origin or may imply that the thing itself is dubious or inaccurate.

a book that repeats many apocryphal stories

Example Sentences

The characters in the book are all fictitious. She gave a fictitious address on the application.
Recent Examples on the Web The fictitious murder-confession song marks her first leader on the list, and completes a rare chart double; SOS has lorded over the Billboard 200 for the past four weeks. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 11 Jan. 2023 It was then found that the car was not registered and bore a fictitious Missouri license plate. cleveland, 8 Dec. 2022 As a prank, two city maintenance workers created their own scrap metal sculpture, gave it a label crediting a fictitious artist (from Fort Worth, to add insult to injury) and installed it on the third floor. Dallas News, 21 Dec. 2022 But fictitious industries may not deem it necessary to do so. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 15 Dec. 2022 The fictitious Apple Island allows Harding to explore dark histories. Justin Beal, Harper’s Magazine , 14 Dec. 2022 To justify the payments, the companies submitted fictitious invoices drafted by Tappe and pasted on their letterhead, the indictment said. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 19 Dec. 2022 Rather, the vehicle was conceived as an extension of Pandora, the fictitious cinematic world modeled as an Earth-like moon from Alpha Centauri. Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 17 Dec. 2022 The license plate, which appeared fictitious, was registered to another vehicle. cleveland, 15 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fictitious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from Medieval Latin fictīcius "artificial, imaginary, feigned, fraudulent," going back to Latin, "artificial, not natural," from fictus, past participle of fingere "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of, pretend to be" + -īcius -itious — more at feign

First Known Use

circa 1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fictitious was circa 1633


Dictionary Entries Near fictitious

Cite this Entry

“Fictitious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


fic·​ti·​tious fik-ˈtish-əs How to pronounce fictitious (audio)
: not real : made-up, imaginary
fictitiously adverb
fictitiousness noun

Legal Definition


: of, relating to, or characteristic of a legal fiction
: false
fictitiously adverb
fictitiousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fictitious

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