figment

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Late Latin figmentum (anything made, a fiction), from fingō (make, form, feign); see fiction, feign.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

figment (plural figments)

  1. A fabrication, fantasy, invention; something fictitious.
    • 1989 (Sep 30), R. McNeill Alexander, "Biomechanics in the days before Newton", New Scientist volume 123, No. 1684, page 59
      He had not seen sarcomeres: these segments were a figment of his imagination.
    • 1999, Martin Gardner, The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener, page 12
      Perhaps, dear reader, you are only a figment in the dream of some god, as Sherlock Holmes was a figment in the mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • 2004, Daniel C. Noel, In a Wayward Mood: Selected Writings 1969-2002, page 256
      Jung's implication here is clearly that one should try to forget that this is only a figment or fantasy, merely make-believe—or perhaps that one should forget the “only,” the “merely”—and indeed take the fantasy seriously as a reality.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often used in the form "a figment of [someone's] imagination".

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