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

Definition of figment

: something made up or contrived

Keep scrolling for more

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 Back then, stocks thrived on hope, with little in the way of sales and profits a figment of someone’s spreadsheet. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Where Danger Lurks in the Big Tech Rally," 6 Sep. 2020 The line could hardly describe Kaufman better, all the more so because it's spoken by a character that may or may not be a figment of subconsciousness. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, "Review: Charlie Kaufman's 'I'm Thinking of Ending Things'," 2 Sep. 2020 While the futuristic Wakanda was a figment of Marvel’s imagination, Boseman’s portrayal of its fictional leader won praise for engaging with many of the contemporary issues shaping African culture and politics. Miriam Berger, Washington Post, "In Africa, Chadwick Boseman’s ‘Black Panther’ was also warrior against stereotypes," 29 Aug. 2020 That far away from Moscow, artists were a figment of the imagination. Marshall Yarbrough, Harper's Magazine, "After Midnight," 18 Aug. 2020 One could be fooled into thinking this is a feat in representation, but those faces don't represent anything but a figment of this country's racist imagination. Michelle Santiago Cortés,, "Eskimo Pies Are Over As The Company Discontinues Racist Branding," 23 June 2020 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about figment

Time Traveler for figment

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for figment

Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Figment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on figment

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for figment

Britannica English: Translation of figment for Arabic Speakers

Comments on figment

What made you want to look up figment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!