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fictitious

[ fik-tish-uhs ]
/ fɪkˈtɪʃ əs /
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adjective
created, taken, or assumed for the sake of concealment; not genuine; false: fictitious names.
of, relating to, or consisting of fiction; imaginatively produced or set forth; created by the imagination: a fictitious hero.

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Origin of fictitious

1605–15; from Latin fictīcius “artificial,” equivalent to fict(us) “shaped, feigned” (see fiction) + -īcius -itious

OTHER WORDS FROM fictitious

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH fictitious

1. factitious, fictitious 2. fictional, fictitious , fictive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

FICTITIOUS VS. FICTIONAL VS. FICTIVE

What’s the difference between fictitious, fictional, and fictive?

Fictitious most commonly means false or made up, as in I signed in with a fictitious name to hide my identity. 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. 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. Fictitious is most commonly used in the context of things that are made up to conceal something or deceive someone in real life, whereas fictional is almost always applied to stories and characters that are part of creative works, like books and movies. Fictitious can usually be replaced with the word fake—this is not the case for fictional.

Here’s an example of fictitious, fictional, 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 fictitious, fictional, and fictive.

Quiz yourself on fictitious vs. fictional vs. fictive!

Should fictitious, fictional, 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 fictitious in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fictitious

fictitious
/ (fɪkˈtɪʃəs) /

adjective
not genuine or authentic; assumed; falseto give a fictitious address
of, related to, or characteristic of fiction; created by the imagination

Derived forms of fictitious

fictitiously, adverbfictitiousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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