Discussion in 'Dictionary Additions' started by ewie, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English


    Example: (from the above source)
    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 :)eek:) definition which is, for once, remarkably good:
    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: Feb 2, 2012
  2. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    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. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    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.
  4. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    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.

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