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

Example Sentences

The characters in the book are all fictitious. She gave a fictitious address on the application.
Recent Examples on the Web In a landmark case, a federal jury on Tuesday rejected the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s gambit to extract enormous royalties from Gilead Sciences Inc. for a fictitious claim of government invention. The Editorial Board,, 10 May 2023 And an artistic style associated with the fictitious tribe is obvious throughout the many sky islands that appear in Tears of the Kingdom. Zachary Small, New York Times, 4 May 2023 Fun fact about Beaulieu-sur-Mer: fans of the 1980s classic film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Michael Caine, Steve Martin and Glenne Headly, may feel eerily at home here, although the town was given the fictitious name Beaumont-sur-Mer in the movie. Isabelle Kliger, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 Cherkasov was an operative of Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, who allegedly spent nearly a decade building the fictitious Ferreira persona before he was detained by Dutch authorities, apparently acting on information relayed by the FBI, and later arrested in Brazil. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2023 During World War II, the United States built up an entire fictitious army group, the First United States Army Group (FUSAG). Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 1 Sep. 2022 The satirical, subversive, often scatological animated series is set in a fictitious Colorado town called South Park about an hour from Denver. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Aug. 2022 These fake identities can then be leveraged to open fictitious accounts, transfer funds and conduct fraudulent transactions. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 3 May 2023 Humphries also released two autobiographies — 1992’s More Please and 2002’s My Life as Me: A Memoir — and wrote fictitious biographies for Dame Edna and Sandy Stone. Rhett Bartlett, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Apr. 2023 See More

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 8 Jun. 2023.

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

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