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Thread: fictoid

  1. #1
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    fictoid

    fictoid

    A fictoid is a bit of fictional history, making a statement or telling a story in one sentence. A typical fictoid tells who did what, when and where. A fictoid may even be partially true, but is never entirely true, or it would be a factoid. In fact, a fictoid is just a fictional factoid.
    ~source, www.fictoids.com

    Example: (from the above source)
    The periodic table and the occasional chair are usually credited to 14th century Italian designer Leonardo di Vani, an elementary scientist and part time furniture designer, while his laid-back lover Sophia Lorenzi is said to have inspired the sometimes sofa, now and then known as the day bed.
    Example (by me, slightly more serious):
    "The derivation of the English word posh is from the acronym P.O.S.H. [Port Out, Starboard Home]."
    A huge number of people have heard this a huge number of times and believe it to be true ... but in fact it isn't.

    Which leads me on to the (ahem) Urban Dictionary () definition which is, for once, remarkably good:
    A factoid that is false or unsupported by evidence, but gets into public circulation anyway. Once it is repeated and quoted enough times, it gains a life of its own, and people assume it is true because they get it from multiple sources, even though the original source is flawed or unverified, or the information turns out to be false¹.
    ¹ In a way (if you're a bit of a cynic) this could be said to be the basis of the entire internet ... and much of what passes for Wikipedia-based modern 'journalism'.
    Last edited by ewie; 2nd February 2012 at 7:45 PM. Reason: ooh get you
    Edit yourself ~ its less embarassing than someone else doing it for you,

  2. #2
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    Re: fictoid

    I think the owner of the site has changed the most common definitions of "factoid" so that his "fictoid" sounds more different than it is (and perhaps so he can trademark the name of his book). Factoids are frequently false or partially false, and he's implying that factoids are always true.
    Here's something I saw posted on Facebook yesterday:
    "The father of the members of The Band Perry is Steve Perry."
    This is true, but it's not the famous Steve Perry (lead singer of Journey) so it's also kind of false (the person posting it went on to make fun of her husband for not knowing who Steve Perry is). Factoid or fictoid?

  3. #3
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    Re: fictoid

    Ah well, Myri, I've always understood a factoid to be something that is true ... but which no-one knows. Mind you, I can't say I'm all that well-acquainted with either term, to be honest.
    Edit yourself ~ its less embarassing than someone else doing it for you,

  4. #4
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    Re: fictoid

    I'd always thought that a factoid was true but trivial - like knowing how many litres of air a bumble will breathe in its lifetime. Wikipedia however says that originally "Mailer described a factoid as "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper",[3] and created the word by combining the word fact and the ending -oid to mean "similar but not the same". But that the meaning has changed over time to mean pretty much what ewie and I thought.

    I suppose if there is flux over the definition of "factoid" it's a bit difficult to define "fictoid" presuming it's built on it. I would have assumed on reading "fictoid" that it meant a piece of trivia widely believed but ultimately false, such as the "fact" you can see the great wall of China from the moon. I like Myridon's example of something which is strictly speaking true, but nonetheless misleading.
    ‘If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he is weaving a tapestry, he had better shut up.' William Morris.

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