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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 ?
It is the fact that fictionally she is uncertain about the outcome, not actual
His or her life could be told as a narrative: factually in an autobiography, fictionally as a novel, or as part of a genealogy.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, "Dancing in a Jar" by Adele Poynter fictionally elaborates on the real-life love affair of a young couple who leave New York City to live in the outport community of St.
Contrary to the sentiment (fictionally) expressed by entertainer Justin Timberlake in this meme, many people in his millennial generation actually believe it's more important to experience life to the fullest than spend money on life insurance or other retirement savings products.
"And while we know all the facts and the numbers, actually what it would have been like for one particular person you can only really get fictionally. So to actually be confronted by the ordinariness of it in someone's diary I found absolutely riveting."
For their final chapter (5: Terra Incognita: mapping the uncertain and the unknown) Stadler and her colleagues considered "the technical and conceptual difficulties and the spatial politics of mapping fictionally uncertain spaces" (p.164); 'terra incognita' and Australia's desert space was used as the case study.
The book is her third in a series of romantic comedies set in the Huddersfield area, (fictionally known as Midhope) and it has been published by Amazon under its White Glove programme for authors who have an agent.
Hints about the song, fictionally written by Michael Caine's Fred Ballinger, are dropped throughout the film--including a boy practicing it on violin.
Critique: Exceptionally well written from beginning to end, this fictionally account of very real-world experiences and trends, "My Electrician Drives a Porsche?: Investing in the Rise of the New Spending Class", is especially commended to the attention of the non-specialist general reader with an interest in the impact technology, entrepreneurship, and globalization are having on the American economy in general, and themselves in particular.
Sona, who fictionally bears Humayun's twins, is his best adviser -- one Babur suggests Humayun to heed well after his death.
"A church refreshed" by Patrick Reardon (NCR, May 22-June 4) fictionally depicts parish life 50 years hence at St.
As ever, Paul Merton and Ian Hislop are captains, and they're joined by Armando Iannucci, writer of Alan Partridge, The Thick Of It and Veep, and the woman who plays the fictionally bonkers character of Philomena Cunk on another current affairs comedy programme, BBC2's Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe, Diane Morgan.
The first launch positions you closer to Tarpon Bay, the ultra-fishy, protected bay that is also fictionally known as "Dinkins Bay" to those of you are fans of the Doc Ford novels.
IN THE IMAGINARY European country Zubrowka, in the time between wars, the Grand Budapest Hotel is as fictionally renowned as it is fabulously pink.