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a polite fiction

A general untruth or falsehood that is accepted in place of the truth to maintain politeness, civility, or stability among a given social group. Our parents' marriage was just a polite fiction in our household up until my youngest sister was off to college. By the time the military junta overthrew the dictatorship, the promise of democratic rule was little more than a polite fiction among the citizens of the country.
See also: fiction

truth is stranger than fiction

Real life is filled such bizarre, absurd, or unlikely events that it can be hard to believe they are not fictional. A piece of metal that had embedded itself in the patient's abdomen from the accident actually deflected the bullet away from any vital organs. I tell you, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
See also: fiction, stranger, truth

Fact is stranger than fiction,

 and Truth is stranger than fiction.
Prov. Things that really happen are harder to believe or more amazing than stories that people invent. Did you see the story in the newspaper about the criminal who attacks people with a toenail clipper? Fact is stranger than fiction! Jill: I can't believe someone's paying 900 dollars for Tom's broken-down old car—it doesn't even run. Jane: Truth is stranger than fiction.
See also: fact, fiction, stranger

truth is stranger than fiction

Real life can be more remarkable than invented tales, as in In our two-month trip around the world we ran into long-lost relatives on three separate occasions, proving that truth is stranger than fiction . This expression may have been invented by Byron, who used it in Don Juan (1833).
See also: fiction, stranger, truth

ˌtruth is stranger than ˈfiction

(saying) used to say that things that actually happen are often more surprising than stories that are invented
See also: fiction, stranger, truth
References in periodicals archive ?
More frivolously, and fictionally, what if Victor Meldrew had never married?
The novel that results from all this--the novel as a process of composition, whose story is told in The Novel in a sort of endlessly spiraling circular structure that El Saadawi has explored before--is apparently as explosive fictionally as El Saadawi's early Memoirs of a Woman Doctor was in real life.
The claim that photographs are fictionally incompetent (that is, that they can only depict those particulars they are appropriately causally related to) is argued by Noel Carroll, Gregory Currie, and Nigel Warburton to be falsified by cinematic works of fiction.
10 backing the campaign to free Coronation Street's Deirdre Barlow after she got fictionally jailed?
But a historically plausible argument is preferred to a fictionally probable argument.
Ice IX, made fictionally famous by Vonnegut in Cat's Cradle, also exists only under high pressure.
The Film Crew was fictionally tasked with providing commentary tracks for obscure movies by a mysterious millionaire known as Bob Honcho.
For example, hoping the students will come to understand gender as performative, Alexander has his students imagine and write fictionally about an alternate sexual identity.
The War Operation Plan Response (WOPR) AI depicted in the 1983 film, WarGames, was fictionally set to the task of generating contingency conditions for the problem of global thermonuclear war.
Creatively written following the story of a caveman called Og, fictionally credited with inventing the wheel, "Awake at the Wheel" will resonate with modern man's quest to think of something new.
Then again, by the time commercial cinemas disappear, we should be able to science fictionally conjure our own holographic audience with which to dance the Time Warp and talk dirty to the screen in meaningful ways.
Considered by many as the Balzac of the streets of Quebec, Yves Beauchemin has fictionally documented the social landscape of la belle province for 32 years, primarily focusing on Montreal (L'Enfirouape [1974], Juliette Pomerleau [1989], Le Second violon [1996], Les Emois d'un marchand de cafe [1999], Charles le Temeraire [vol.
Q: Having been locked in an enclosed space, albeit fictionally, we wonder if you have a special perspective on the Paris Hilton situation.
In Act 1 of The Adventures, for example, we move fictionally from Henrique's chambers to the servants' quarters, but there is no indication that the scenery should change, the passage is simply preceded and followed by directions to clear the stage.
A line must be drawn at some point, otherwise the result is just a conglomerate of stock characters trying to fictionally document a time in history while that very time rapidly unfolds.