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figment of (one's)/the imagination
An experience that initially is thought to be real but is actually imagined. I thought I heard the sound of my front door opening last night but it turned out to be a figment of my imagination.
be a figment of (one's/the) imagination
To be an imagined experience (especially after one has initially thought it to be real). I thought I heard the sound of my front door opening last night but it turned out to be a figment of my imagination.
figment of one's imagination
Something made up, invented, or fabricated, as in "The long dishevelled hair, the swelled black face, the exaggerated stature were figments of imagination" (Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847). This term is redundant, since figment means "product of the imagination." [Early 1800s]
a figment of somebody’s imagiˈnationsomething which somebody only imagines: Doctor, are you suggesting the pain is a figment of my imagination?
figment of the imagination, a
An imaginary occurrence; a pipe dream. This expression is tautological, since figment means a product of fictitious invention. Nevertheless, it has been used since the mid-nineteenth century. It appeared in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847): “The long dishevelled hair, the swelled black face, the exaggerated stature, were figments of imagination.”