non·​fic·​tion | \ ˌnän-ˈfik-shən \

Definition of nonfiction 

: writing or cinema that is about facts and real events He prefers to read nonfiction rather than novels.

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Other Words from nonfiction

nonfictional \ ˌnän-​ˈfik-​shnəl , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of nonfiction in a Sentence

He reads a lot of nonfiction.

Recent Examples on the Web

Books help us learn more about each other, whether through fiction or nonfiction. ... Danielle Hernandez,, "Danielle's Report: U-T to host second annual San Diego Festival of Books," 5 July 2018 White has written 27 previous books, both fiction and nonfiction. New York Times, "What Edmund White Thinks You Should Read," 3 July 2018 Her fiction and nonfiction alike have found a home in the hearts of American intellectuals like Barack Obama as well on best-seller lists. Sarah Begley, Time, "Marilynne Robinson on What It Means to Be a Christian in Trump's America," 1 Mar. 2018 Written by Kirsten Hall, this lively work of nonfiction has a buoyant, enthusiastic tone. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Tales of Bravery and Brilliance," 8 Nov. 2018 But the duo senses a hunger among comics fans for this style of historical nonfiction — one that reminds readers of the subtle contributions of unsung, ordinary people. Anya Van Wagtendonk,, "Meet the artists behind 'Declaration,' a queer Revolutionary love story," 12 June 2018 Since then, she's earned a Ph.D. in creative nonfiction from Ohio University and is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the same university. Kelly Sundberg, Good Housekeeping, "I Had No Idea My Husband Was Abusing Me," 1 June 2018 If story is the motor of fiction, than the motor of nonfiction is thought. Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, "What Richard Pryor’s Stand-Up Can Teach Writers," 31 May 2018 This essay first appeared in Brick, the biannual print journal of nonfiction based in Canada and read throughout the world. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "‘Choose Marriage or Education’," 29 May 2018

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

1867, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for nonfiction

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for nonfiction

The first known use of nonfiction was in 1867

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More Definitions for nonfiction



English Language Learners Definition of nonfiction

: writing that is about facts or real events : all writing that is not fiction


non·​fic·​tion | \ ˈnän-ˈfik-shən \

Kids Definition of nonfiction

: writing that is about facts or real events

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More from Merriam-Webster on nonfiction

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nonfiction

Spanish Central: Translation of nonfiction

Nglish: Translation of nonfiction for Spanish Speakers

Comments on nonfiction

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involving abstract or general statements

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