Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for June 12, 2020 is:

fictitious • fik-TISH-us  • adjective

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of fiction : imaginary

2 a : conventionally or hypothetically assumed or accepted

b of a name : false, assumed

3 : not genuinely felt


“‘Outbreak’ follows a team of U.S. Army medical researchers as they struggle to contain a fictitious disease, dubbed the Motaba virus, that’s quickly spreading in a California town. In the film, they’re successful in halting it in its tracks.” — Brent Lang, Variety, 15 Apr. 2020

“Forensic auditors released details of their findings at the last regular trustee meeting, noting that more than $14 million was mismanaged…. About $600,000 was spent on lavish travel by former administrators and on payments to what appears to be a fictitious vendor.” — Eva-Marie Ayala, The Dallas Morning News, 1 May 2020

Did you know?

Fictitious is related to the Medieval Latin word fictīcius, meaning “artificial,” “imaginary,” “feigned,” or “fraudulent.” It was first used in English as an antonym for natural. For instance, a fake diamond would be referred to as a fictitious one. This use indicates the word’s deeper Latin roots: fictīcius is from the Latin verb fingere, meaning “to mold, fashion, make a likeness of; pretend to be.” Nowadays, fictitious is no longer used for physical things shaped by the human hand. Rather, it is typically used for imaginative creations or for feigned emotions.


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