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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

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 ?
This conversation seems to fictionally enact the model of mutual recognition proposed by Benjamin.
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.
An editorial practice that encourages readerly engagement with the fictionally represented seems all the more appropriate as Shakespeare's early modern play texts contain not only theatrical but also fictional stage directions: in Coriolanus, characters "enter the City" (TLN 568); in Timon of Athens, the protagonist enters "out of his Caue" (TLN 2360); in Julius Caesar, Brutus enters "in his Orchard" (TLN 615); and a stage direction in 2 Henry V/records a "Fight at Sea" (TLN 2168).
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.
Krog's other outlet for exploring the ethical facet of infidelity in Country of My Skull is "the lie"--the adulterous affair which Krog has fictionally invented between her narrative persona, Antjie Samuel, and an unnamed lover.
Q: Having been locked in an enclosed space, albeit fictionally, we wonder if you have a special perspective on the Paris Hilton situation.
Russian novelists such as Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky and African writers such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka have been "much more willing to write fictionally about ideas," Powers says, adding that societies in which war and material impoverishment have exacted a greater toll tend to produce writers who emphasize such issues in their fiction.
6 trillion by compiling real and fictionally projected budgetary appropriations that include lifetime healthcare costs, interest payments on debt, imagined costs of an eventual demobilization, economic opportunity costs of civilian wages lost to people enlisting in the military, depreciation of military equipment, the imputed value of lost human lives (assessed at $6 million per human being), the price of oil, the "macroeconomic effects" of the price of oil, and so forth.
Following Bennett and Woollacott I have read a group of British colossal creature films made in the late 1950s and early 1960s as "imaginary attempts to negotiate ideologies and fictionally reaffirm Britain's international status" (Conrich, "Trashing London" 95), with narratives in which London is selected above all other world cities for destruction.
Percy saw this Cartesian spirit manifested most prominently in the pagan stoic code of honor that shaped Southern aristocratic society, represented fictionally by Faulkner's Compson family, and more personally by Percy's own ancestral family.
together to create a particular mood that is both fictionally reassuring
This theoretical clarity, which defines a national unconscious as constructed of historical contradictions fictionally (or dramatically) resolved, leads Wall to a cumulative argument attentive to the ways domestic goods and practices in England shaped the intricacies of sexuality, gender, and class in English identity formation.
On AIDS, he was fictionally quoted as saying "They that live in sin shall die in sin," something wholly typical of a period when a lot of people were saying that disease was the wages of sin.
Thus, though Alvarez fictionally reconstructs the lives of historical figures in Butterflies and Salome, she does so from an autobiographical perspective that allows her simultaneously to construct her own identity.
Director Pam Cowey says: "The fun of this racing about is increased by the staging device of super-imposing both homes on one set, so that actors inches apart are fictionally in two different places.