fig·​ment | \ ˈfig-mənt How to pronounce figment (audio) \

Definition of figment

: something made up or contrived

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Did You Know?

A figment is something formed from imaginary elements. Daydreams are figments; nightmares are figments that can seem very real. Most figments are everyday fears and hopes about small things that turn out to be imaginary. But when the radio play "The War of the Worlds" aired in 1938, it caused a panic among thousands of people who didn't realize the Martian invasion was just a figment of the author's imagination.

Examples of figment in a Sentence

unable to find any tracks in the snow the next morning, I was forced to conclude that the shadowy figure had been a figment of my imagination thus far, the invisible human being has been nothing more than a figment of fantasy writers
Recent Examples on the Web Could Monty be calling Clay or is this a figment of his imagination? Shannon Carlin,, "The Real Meaning Behind The Graffiti In 13 Reasons Why Season 4," 6 June 2020 Something known as the dialectic was said to be the key to progress, but nobody could make sense of this figment. David Pryce-jones, National Review, "Robert Conquest: Sovietologist and Poet," 28 Apr. 2020 There have been dozens more slamming the bureau for various transgressions, most of them figments of the fecund presidential imagination. Robert G. Kaiser, The New York Review of Books, "Fear and Loathing and the FBI," 11 Feb. 2020 Bild Lilli was a single-panel comic character in a German tabloid — a sweet, ditzy, curvy figment of the male imagination, frequently losing her clothes and enjoying the company of men. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Barbie's 60th Birthday Wish Was to Be More Inclusive. Now What?," 2 May 2019 Start instead with the bedrock assumption that trying for as much satisfaction of needs and wants in life is an innate part of being human, and not a figment of any particular culture or ideology. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: One can be thankful for much even amid pessimism," 1 Dec. 2019 And Awkwafina went from a figment of my imagination sitting in my bedroom in high school to being on a chair back (on a set). Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "Awkwafina opens up about loss: 'The Farewell' is 'a very personal story for me'," 11 July 2019 Some are familiar, such as the reigning champion Seattle Sounders and the Los Angeles Galaxy. Others – like Atlanta United and LAFC – were just figments of the league's imagination just a few years ago. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Chicago Fire FC undergoes extreme makeover entering Major League Soccer's 25th season," 29 Feb. 2020 Natalia Prilutskaya, a Russian researcher for Amnesty International, said that charges were a figment of the Russian security services’ imagination and the trial was a sham. Washington Post, "They were Russian vegans, environmentalists antifascists and airsoft players. Then they were accused of terrorism.," 10 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'figment.' 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 figment

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for figment

Middle English, "fable, deceitful practice," borrowed from Latin figmentum "thing formed, image, invention," from fig-, variant stem of fingere "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of, pretend to be" + -mentum -ment — more at feign

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Time Traveler for figment

Time Traveler

The first known use of figment was in the 15th century

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Statistics for figment

Last Updated

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Figment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for figment


How to pronounce figment (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of figment

: something produced by the imagination : something that does not really exist


fig·​ment | \ ˈfig-mənt \

Kids Definition of figment

: something imagined or made up I thought I saw her, but it must have been a figment of my imagination.

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More from Merriam-Webster on figment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for figment

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with figment

Spanish Central: Translation of figment

Britannica English: Translation of figment for Arabic Speakers

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