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

Definition of figment

: something made up or contrived

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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 Kevin Durant, to them, is just an abstraction, a guy on the TV, a figment of their imaginations. New York Times, 2 June 2021 The war on meat is no figment of the right’s imagination. Stephen Moore, WSJ, 9 May 2021 Exit velocity wasn’t even a figment of imagination. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 14 May 2021 New York Times columnist Paul Krugman suggested Thursday that riots that have plagued many U.S. cities over the past year were a figment of Republicans' imaginations. Jack Durschlag, Fox News, 23 Apr. 2021 Stretched over 13 episodes, after George’s visit, this little figment of Meredith’s near-death state hasn’t taught us much about Meredith. Maggie Fremont, Vulture, 23 Apr. 2021 Last April, the Wintarian Basketball League was nothing more than a figment of Rob Davis III’s imagination. Jacob Calvin Meyer,, 22 Apr. 2021 More generally, the term refers to a fantastical figment of someone’s imagination. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Mar. 2021 Baxamusa argued any comments from developers about lack of labor is just a figment of their imagination — the real reason is not wanting to pay workers enough. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Mar. 2021

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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Learn More About figment

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

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Figment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for figment



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on figment

Britannica English: Translation of figment for Arabic Speakers


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