verisimilitude

noun

veri·​si·​mil·​i·​tude ˌver-ə-sə-ˈmi-lə-ˌtüd How to pronounce verisimilitude (audio)
-ˌtyüd
1
: the quality or state of being verisimilar
2
: something verisimilar
verisimilitudinous
ˌver-ə-sə-ˌmi-lə-ˈtüd-nəs How to pronounce verisimilitude (audio)
-ˈtyüd-;
-ˈtü-də-nəs
-ˈtyü-
adjective

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From its roots, verisimilitude means basically "similarity to the truth". Most fiction writers and filmmakers aim at some kind of verisimilitude to give their stories an air of reality. They need not show something actually true, or even very common, but simply something believable. A mass of good details in a play, novel, painting, or film may add verisimilitude. A spy novel without some verisimilitude won't interest many readers, but a fantastical novel may not even attempt to seem true to life.

Examples of verisimilitude in a Sentence

the novel's degree of verisimilitude is compromised by 18th-century characters who speak in very 21st-century English
Recent Examples on the Web This gives the show a brisk pace, and commentary from hosts like NBA star Stephen Curry adds an air of sports verisimilitude to the silly setting. Chris Snellgrove, EW.com, 3 Feb. 2024 To communicate this kind of truth often meant rejecting ordinary verisimilitude in favor of fable and parable, exaggeration and absurdity—as writers like Flannery O’Connor and Ralph Ellison showed. Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker, 27 Nov. 2023 Actually moving and clicking a mouse cursor with your stick, just for the verisimilitude, gets old fast. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 20 July 2023 Yet an errant verisimilitude—film’s prerogative—doesn’t quite address what’s at issue. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 12 Dec. 2023 Using an old, large-format camera, long exposure times and elaborately tuned lighting, Sugimoto enhanced both the artifice and the verisimilitude of the institution’s taxidermy wildlife tableaus behind glass. Emily Labarge, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2023 But Cooper, who also directed and co-wrote (with Josh Singer), would hardly be the first lead actor contender to alter his schnoz for the sake of verisimilitude. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 The Little Mermaid’s brain trust of director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca decided early on that verisimilitude was the name of the game. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 May 2023 Even the muddy photography and wan institutional lighting add to the verisimilitude. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 14 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin vērīsimilitūdō, from vērī similis, vērīsimilis "having the appearance of truth" + -tūdō, suffix of abstract nouns — more at verisimilar

First Known Use

circa 1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of verisimilitude was circa 1576

Dictionary Entries Near verisimilitude

Cite this Entry

“Verisimilitude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/verisimilitude. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

verisimilitude

noun
veri·​si·​mil·​i·​tude ˌver-ə-sə-ˈmil-ə-ˌt(y)üd How to pronounce verisimilitude (audio)
: the appearance of being true or real

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