ETYM French fiction, Latin fictio, from fingere, fictum to form, shape, invent, feign. Related to Feign.
A literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact.
In literature, any work in which the content is completely or largely invented. The term describes imaginative works of narrative prose (such as the novel or the short story), and is distinguished from nonfiction (such as history, biography, or works on practical subjects) and poetry.
This usage reflects the dominance in contemporary Western literature of the novel as a vehicle for imaginative literature: strictly speaking, poems can also be fictional (as opposed to factual). Genres such as the historical novel often combine a fictional plot with real events; biography may also be “fictionalized” through the use of imagined conversations or events.