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

Examples of fictitious in a Sentence

The characters in the book are all fictitious. She gave a fictitious address on the application.
Recent Examples on the Web Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd starred in this film about a fictitious motorcycle gang (Prime Video). 5. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2024 The investigation also found a network of fictitious colleges claiming to be accredited, generally the gold standard of legitimate universities in the U.S., however, those accreditors appear to be fabricated as well. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, 9 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for fictitious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fictitious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 24 May. 2024.

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

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