OTHER WORDS FROM fictionalfic·tion·al·ly, adverb
Words nearby fictional
FICTIONAL VS. FICTITIOUS VS. FICTIVE
What’s the difference between fictional, fictitious, and fictive?
Fictional means invented as part of a work of fiction, as in Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective or This account is entirely fictional—it’s not based on a true story. Fictitious most commonly means false or made up, as in I signed in with a fictitious name to hide my identity. Fictive is a much less commonly used word that means imaginary or relating to or capable of creating fiction, as in a fictive imagination.
Confusingly, their meanings can overlap—fictitious can sometimes mean the same thing as fictional, and fictive can sometimes mean the same thing as fictitious. It can be tough to remember which word is the right one to use since all three are adjectives that are used in contexts involving things that are imagined or made up.
Still, they are usually used in pretty specific ways. Fictional is almost always applied to stories and characters that are part of creative works, like books and movies, whereas fictitious is most commonly used in the context of things that are made up to conceal something or deceive someone in real life. Fictitious can usually be replaced with the word fake—this is not the case for fictional.
Here’s an example of fictional, fictitious and fictive used correctly in the same sentence.
Example: Instead of using fictitious names that no one would notice, his aliases were the names of fictional characters, like Clark Kent and Peter Parker—you would think a con artist would have a more fictive imagination.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between fictional, fictitious, and fictive.
Quiz yourself on fictional vs. fictitious vs. fictive!
Should fictional, fictitious, or fictive be used in the following sentence?
The characters in this film are purely _____—any resemblance to real persons is entirely coincidental.
How to use fictional in a sentence
Named for the all-seeing stones in the fictional Lord of the Rings trilogy, Palantir combines myriad, ever-changing data streams into one centralized “source of truth.”Palantir shares are up big on first day of trading|Verne Kopytoff|September 30, 2020|Fortune
As a thought experiment, he began building a fictional universe called Hour Blue and soon saw it as a business opportunity.Magic Leap tried to create an alternate reality. Its founder was already in one|Verne Kopytoff|September 26, 2020|Fortune
The Sharks and the Jets, in the fictional-gangs-from-the-50s industry.
In Paralink’s case, the federal government takes the place of the fictional Hooli — and the establishment is again getting a run for its money.This High Schooler Hands Out More PPE Than the Feds|Daniel Malloy|August 7, 2020|Ozy
The Bookshop, like Ryan’s fictional The Shop Around The Corner, is an old establishment, run more as a family set-up even though those who work there are not related by blood.How a tiny Delhi bookstore helped Indians around the country keep reading during coronavirus|Manavi Kapur|August 7, 2020|Quartz
Disney has a choice whether to produce a program with certain fictional characters; the storyline could be re-written or changed.Yep, Korra and Asami Went in the Spirit Portal and Probably Kissed|Melissa Leon|December 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The man behind the desk is a fictional character—a ferocious patriot exposing the limits of rigid ideology.The End of Truthiness: Stephen Colbert’s Sublime Finale|Noel Murray|December 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
So why did I think anyone would want to read yet another book, this time a fictional account of the same story?
Almost every fictional hero of my childhood has come back to life on the big screen in recent years.Can Tarzan of the Apes Survive in a Post-Colonial World?|Ted Gioia|November 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But what awaited was a joy, a glimpse into the life of the fictional Umbridge.J.K. Rowling Pens the Greatest Horror Story Ever: Dolores Umbridge Was Real|Kevin Fallon|October 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Factual material, however disguised, often shines through its fictional background.Indirection|Everett B. Cole
Next to "Hadleyburg," it is Mark Twain's greatest fictional sermon.Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete|Albert Bigelow Paine
It has no fictional connection with the others; it is in no sense a sequel, but rather a companion story.Astounding Stories, April, 1931|Various
It was one of his many failures; for, unlike the great fictional detectives who never fail, Haggerty was human, and did.The Voice in the Fog|Harold MacGrath
For a sample of a fictional continuous watch report might look like the following.Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises of the Western North Atlantic|Stephen Leatherwood