a. The category of literature, drama, film, or other creative work whose content is imagined and is not necessarily based on fact.
b. Works in this category: the fiction of Virginia Woolf.
c. A work within this category: the shorter fictions of Faulkner.
a. Narrative, explanatory material, or belief that is not true or has been imagined or fabricated: The notion that he was at the scene of the crime is pure fiction.
b. A narrative, explanation, or belief that may seem true but is false or fabricated: "Neutrality is a fiction in an unneutral world" (Howard Zinn).
3. Law A verbal contrivance that is in some sense inaccurate but that accomplishes a purpose, as in the treatment of husband and wife as one person or a corporation as an entity.
[Middle English ficcioun, from Old French fiction, from Latin fictiō, fictiōn-, from fictus, past participle of fingere, to form; see dheigh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
fic′tion·ali·ty (-shə-nălĭ-tē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.