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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, polite

fact is stranger than fiction

proverb 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 fact is stranger than fiction.
See also: fact, fiction, stranger

separate fact from fiction

To distinguish between truth and untruth. There's so much misinformation out there that we really need to stop, take a breath, and separate fact from fiction. The ubiquity and influence of social media has made separating fact from fiction much harder these days.
See also: fact, fiction, separate

truth is stranger than fiction

proverb 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

truth is stranger than fiction

Facts may be more remarkable than an invented story. The phrase first appeared in Byron’s Don Juan (1823)—“‘Tis strange—but true; for truth is always strange,—stranger than fiction”—and has been repeated ever since, often with ironic variations. Mark Twain had it in Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar (1893), “Truth is stranger than fiction— to some people, but I am measurably familiar with it.” And novelist Margaret Echard wrote, “Truth is not only stranger than fiction but far more interesting” (Before IWake, 1943).
See also: fiction, stranger, truth
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The authorial metalepsis, however, in combination with the intertextual relations among the three levels of diegesis highlights the text fictionality and thus destroys the reality effect supposedly necessary to the fantastic effect.
Just as in Stein and Joyce, the revolution of the word is not a destruction of language, but the subversion of a mimetic ideology that conceals its own fictionality and promotes itself as the sole conduit of the real.
(26) Trollope's narrator, by overtly refusing the convention of the realist novel to model sympathy for and evoke sympathy from readers, simultaneously underscores its own fictionality and challenges the ethical efficacy of readerly feeling.
The nature of fictionality, the relationship between autobiography and fiction, fiction and narrative, and the origins of the novel are vast topics, exceeding the scope of this article; from Fielding and Bakhtin, to Terry Eagleton and Franco Moretti, (8) opinions are many and wide-ranging.
They discuss reframing Lazarillo studies; publicity and fictionality; the importance of post-publication history; the Spanish Inquisition and the battle for Lazarillo; the alimentary code in the novel; the secret library of Barcarrota; the women; the odyssey of Lazarillo and the secular state of mind; and style, diction, and content.
And precisely in their sculptural fictionality, these forms--reinforced geometrically--become loaded, at the same time, with an intense poetry.
Blake suggests that merely by nature of their fictionality the texts he discusses work to create critical distance between reader and subject.
While accepting the link between the fictionality and imaginative puzzles, Walton presses the conceptual distinction between them in order to test the scope of reasons why a person may be not just unwilling, but unable to accept certain invitations offered by a fiction.
In her early articulations of a theory of "fictionality," Catherine Gallagher explains that the shift from understanding allegory as "disguise" to "abuse" fed into a larger generic impulse: to make histories that more and more resembled fictional narratives.
A first-person narrator, Donald, presents himself as the writer composing the characters as we read them, a further reminder of the fictionality of fiction.
With its focus on non-German and Jewish suffering in the Lodz ghetto, Becker's Jakob der Lugner (1969) highlights the absence of a resistance movement there and, by providing two possible conclusions, draws attention to the essential fictionality of literature.
In the preface, they confront many of these fallacies, such as the supposed "liberal theological bias" of viewing the Bible as literature, the claim that the literary approach to the Bible implies its fictionality, and the idea that a literary reading of the Bible precludes its divine inspiration.
47 The text we are looking for must also be a fictional text, and a text that insists on its fictionality--not on the meaning or significance or function or operation or feeling of its fictionality, but on its fictionality as such.