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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 ?
Non Fiction is beginning to be understood a little more.
Thus Fiction Now, read as a form of critical urgency to question, rethink, and rejuvenate French fiction, bears witness not only to a desire to make fiction new but also to surpassing the superficial realm of the familiar (i.
The last of the book's major sections consists of six considerations of "Science Fiction and the Real World.
While science fiction is the literature of the outwardly possible, spirituality is the literature of the inwardly possible," he says.
But Hobb's idea that readers may mistake Robin Hobb fan fiction for her own work borders on the paranoid, and some arguments advanced by fanfic's foes make little sense.
In the final analysis, then, The Span of Mainstream and Science Fiction effectively charts the new territory Brigg set out to map and is a noteworthy addition to the growing body of critical literature that examines the boundaries between mainstream and genre fiction.
For sci-fi buffs, the golden age of science fiction was launched in the 1930s with future notions of orbiting nuclear reactors, interstellar travel and a future of personal helicopters and people movers made popular in science magazines.
It's hard to make satire appealing in fiction, says Treisman, who is also Saunders's editor at The New Yorker.
He discusses the requisite authorial matters, including Johnson's upbringing and his parents, as well as his early work outside of writing fiction.
According to statistics compiled by Romance Writers of America (RWA), a trade organization of more than 9,500 published and aspiring authors, the genre accounts for a third of all paperback, trade and hardcover fiction sales.
The Detective Fiction and Forensics cluster, the subject of our case study here, demonstrates that the shift from old to new paradigms of teaching, like the one that Johnson, Johnson, and Smith lay out in Active Learning: Cooperation in the College Classroom (6-12), is possible not only within one college classroom but also within an interdisciplinary structure.
These fiction writers are not looking to put one over on the public for personal or political gain; they are simply employing a familiar literary trope, in which the story includes a fiction of its own origins.
American Science Fiction TV--Star-Trek, Stargate, and Beyond
1) Fiction's present is the intersection of everything that fiction has been and everything that it will become.
This year's ten award winners included six fiction writers, two non-fiction writers, one poet and one playwright.