factoid

noun
fac·​toid | \ ˈfak-ˌtȯid How to pronounce factoid (audio) \

Definition of factoid

1 : an invented fact believed to be true because it appears in print
2 : a briefly stated and usually trivial fact

Did you know that Norman Mailer coined the word factoid?

We can thank Norman Mailer for factoid: he used the word in his 1973 book Marilyn (about Marilyn Monroe), and he is believed to be the coiner of the word. In the book, he explains that factoids are "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority." Mailer's use of the -oid suffix (which traces back to the ancient Greek word eidos, meaning "appearance" or "form") follows in the pattern of humanoid: just as a humanoid appears to be human but is not, a factoid appears to be factual but is not. The word has since evolved so that now it most often refers to things that decidedly are facts, just not ones that are significant.

Examples of factoid in a Sentence

The book is really just a collection of interesting factoids.
Recent Examples on the Web Goner’s reaction to that factoid was of demonstrably greater astonishment. Shirley Halperin, Variety, 28 July 2022 Oh well, maybe the factoid will help a future contestant or inspire this trio to visit the Shoals or look up our glorious history in the vast world of rock and roll. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 17 June 2022 This is the kind of factoid that the internet can reliably deliver in a matter of seconds, and yet the joy of discovering such things has been entirely lost. New York Times, 10 May 2022 Schor’s book, a best seller and classic of its genre, may very well be the origin story for how so many people otherwise uninvolved in medieval history came to know and share this particular factoid. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 6 May 2022 In a field where shifts typically move at a glacial pace, that demographic factoid may represent the most abrupt and most consequential shift in U.S. society in the postwar period. The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Apr. 2022 Rodrigo told the Portland crowd that she was introduced to Veruca Salt by her mother — a factoid that led more than a few Gen Xers online to jokingly confront their own mortality. Kat Bouza, Rolling Stone, 7 Apr. 2022 As a huge Peaky Blinders fan, here’s another Cine Lens factoid that intrigued me. Andy Meek, BGR, 16 Dec. 2021 Given how loose the show feels and how unflattering the pair can come off, this is a curious factoid. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 17 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'factoid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of factoid

1973, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for factoid

fact + -oid entry 1

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The first known use of factoid was in 1973

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Dictionary Entries Near factoid

fact of life

factoid

factor

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Statistics for factoid

Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Factoid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factoid. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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