veri·​si·​mil·​i·​tude ˌver-ə-sə-ˈmi-lə-ˌtüd How to pronounce verisimilitude (audio)
: the quality or state of being verisimilar
: something verisimilar
ˌver-ə-sə-ˌmi-lə-ˈtüd-nəs How to pronounce verisimilitude (audio)

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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.

Example Sentences

the novel's degree of verisimilitude is compromised by 18th-century characters who speak in very 21st-century English
Recent Examples on the Web Affleck met with Jordan, seeking further screenplay verisimilitude, resulting in a new centrality for the Deloris Jordan character (as well as the direct suggestion to cast Academy Award winner Davis in the role). Vulture, 6 Apr. 2023 National art academies and theoreticians came to consider the mimetic warts-and-all allegiance to surfaces as demeaning to art’s poetic grandeur, and artists were encouraged to show a distinctive, personal touch rather than self-effacing verisimilitude. Susan Tallman, The New York Review of Books, 29 Dec. 2022 Writers of imaginative prose must be skilled at verisimilitude,… After the Fires From A More Perfect Reunion, which was published in June by Bold Type Books. Jackie Smith, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 That's intentional; the show's mockumentary format apes several tropes of the doc genre in order to aim for peak verisimilitude. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 3 Mar. 2023 The graduation of shadow and light contributes to the sense of verisimilitude, though Vermeer adjusts optics for the sake of art by painting the jigsaw piece of wall between the jug and the milkmaid’s arm a brighter hue, the better to accentuate her gesture. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 20 Feb. 2023 There’s no shortage of crime shows at MIPTV, but this Belgian offering, set against the backdrop of a notorious, unsolved, spree in the lowlands in the 1980s, adds a layer of verisimilitude that could appeal beyond the procedural fan base to true crime fanatics. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Mar. 2022 Kitchen life has seldom been depicted with verisimilitude in film and TV; often, it’s presented as a white-linen fantasy, with zero feel for the grease under the surface. Jason Gay, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 The rough paradigm is getting sculpted into something with more verisimilitude when judged against the diversity and peculiarity of nature. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 23 Dec. 2010 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


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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


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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