fic·​ti·​tious fik-ˈti-shəs How to pronounce fictitious (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of fiction : imaginary
fictitious events described in his novel
: conventionally or hypothetically assumed or accepted
a fictitious concept
of a name : false, assumed
: not genuinely felt
fictitiously adverb
fictitiousness noun

Did you know?

Fictitious is related to the Medieval Latin word fictīcius, meaning "artificial," "imaginary," "feigned," or "fraudulent." It was first used in English as an antonym for natural. For instance, a fake diamond would be referred to as a fictitious one. This use indicates the word's deeper Latin roots: fictīcius is from the Latin verb fingere, meaning "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of; pretend to be." Nowadays, fictitious is no longer used for physical things shaped by the human hand. Rather, it is typically used for imaginative creations or for feigned emotions.

Choose the Right Synonym for fictitious

fictitious, fabulous, legendary, mythical, apocryphal mean having the nature of something imagined or invented.

fictitious implies fabrication and suggests artificiality or contrivance more than deliberate falsification or deception.

fictitious characters

fabulous stresses the marvelous or incredible character of something without necessarily implying impossibility or actual nonexistence.

a land of fabulous riches

legendary suggests the elaboration of invented details and distortion of historical facts produced by popular tradition.

the legendary exploits of Davy Crockett

mythical implies a purely fanciful explanation of facts or the creation of beings and events out of the imagination.

mythical creatures

apocryphal implies an unknown or dubious source or origin or may imply that the thing itself is dubious or inaccurate.

a book that repeats many apocryphal stories

Examples of fictitious in a Sentence

The characters in the book are all fictitious. She gave a fictitious address on the application.
Recent Examples on the Web Ricardo Abbott, a fictitious Minneapolis resident, shared videos of the Russian president arguing Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine were part of Russia, the filings say. Michael Loria, USA TODAY, 10 July 2024 Like other artistic expressions, rap lyrics are often fictitious and hyperbolic; they cannot be assumed to be autobiographical. Priya Chaudhry, Billboard, 1 July 2024 Drone warfare has blurred the line between fictitious virtual battlefields and real conflict zones. Linda Kinstler, Washington Post, 20 June 2024 OpenAI said the Israeli operation used AI to generate and edit articles and comments posted across Instagram, Facebook, and X, as well as to create fictitious personas and bios for fake accounts. Shannon Bond, NPR, 30 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for fictitious 

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

Word History


borrowed from Medieval Latin fictīcius "artificial, imaginary, feigned, fraudulent," going back to Latin, "artificial, not natural," from fictus, past participle of fingere "to mold, fashion, make a likeness of, pretend to be" + -īcius -itious — more at feign

First Known Use

circa 1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of fictitious was circa 1633


Dictionary Entries Near fictitious

Cite this Entry

“Fictitious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


fic·​ti·​tious fik-ˈtish-əs How to pronounce fictitious (audio)
: not real : made-up, imaginary
fictitiously adverb
fictitiousness noun

Legal Definition


: of, relating to, or characteristic of a legal fiction
: false
fictitiously adverb
fictitiousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fictitious

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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