fic·​tion ˈfik-shən How to pronounce fiction (audio)
: something invented by the imagination or feigned
specifically : an invented story
… I'd found out that the story of the ailing son was pure fiction. Andrew A. Rooney
: fictitious literature (such as novels or short stories)
was renowned as a writer of fiction
: a work of fiction
especially : novel
Her latest work is a fiction set during the Civil War.
: an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth
a legal fiction
: a useful illusion or pretense
it was only a fiction of independence his mother gave him; he was almost totally under her powerG. A. Wagner
: the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination
She engaged in fiction to escape painful realities.
fictionality noun

Example Sentences

She believes the fiction that crime rates are up. most stories about famous outlaws of the Old West are fictions that have little or nothing to do with fact
Recent Examples on the Web The bookstore stocks cookbooks by Black chefs as well as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and childrens’ books that are related to food and written by Black writers. Kayla Stewart, Bon Appétit, 23 Dec. 2022 Reginald Hudlin has joined forces with AWA Studios to create a series of original comic book stories that will be simultaneously developed for graphic fiction, film, television and other mediums. Breanna Bell, Variety, 15 Dec. 2022 Miranda Lambert told stories — fact as well as fiction — inspired by her travels. Jeff Nelson, Peoplemag, 12 Dec. 2022 Test your recall of the year’s fiction, or your instinct for writers’ methods, by matching each first line to its author’s name. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2022 In this fierce, feminist historical fiction, a London men's club claims to communicate with the dead, but their chicanery is threatened by an indomitable spiritualist who actually does. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 5 Dec. 2022 It’s historical fiction, built on scripts and costumes and props, and not documentary footage. Matthew Gilbert,, 14 Nov. 2022 But in the case of the relationship between the Windsors and the Romanovs—what’s fiction, and what actually happened? Elise Taylor, Vogue, 10 Nov. 2022 Meanwhile, the journalists published a fortnightly camp newspaper, featuring news, articles, fiction, and illustrations – edited by Leo Freund under the penname Michael Corvin. Simon Parkin, Time, 2 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English ficcioun "invention of the mind," borrowed from Middle French fiction, borrowed from Latin fictiōn-, fictiō "action of shaping or molding, feigning, pretense, legal fiction," from fig-, variant stem of fingere "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of, pretend to be" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at feign

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of fiction was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near fiction

Cite this Entry

“Fiction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


fic·​tion ˈfik-shən How to pronounce fiction (audio)
: something told or written that is not fact
: a made-up story
-shnəl How to pronounce fiction (audio)
-shnə-lē How to pronounce fiction (audio)

Legal Definition


fictional adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on fiction

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