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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.
See also: figment, imagination, of

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.
See also: figment, imagination, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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]
See also: figment, imagination, of
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.

a figment of somebody’s imagiˈnation

something which somebody only imagines: Doctor, are you suggesting the pain is a figment of my imagination?
See also: figment, imagination, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.”
See also: figment, of
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Figment is an expression of the Bhutan of my imagination.
In a letter to the accounting firm, Kypros Satellites director Angelos Pieri expresses shock at the "sheer magnitude of lies and unprofessional behaviour" on Yiorgakis' part, and describes his claims before the Ethics committee as a "figment of sick imagination".
FIGMENT CHATS provide a chance for participants to ask questions of professionals.
Of the pair it was Figment who was the more eyecatching on her debut over 7f at Newcastle last month.
FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEA-oNY) opened CDR Studio's Governor's Cup on Governors Island at the weekend.
"Global competition is not a figment of our imaginations.
'A figment of imagination' Guardian The outgoing Nepalese ambassador Maya Kumari Sharma yesterday denied that she had ever spoken to BBC about the working conditions of her compatriots in Qatar and termed a report in London's newspaper on the issue as "a figment of the journalist's imagination".
Warhol museum director Eric Shiner said the project is titled ''Figment'' because of a Warhol quote in which the artist said, ''I always thought I'd like my own tombstone to be blank.
The source considered that the news published by the aforementioned newspaper is the result of the hallucinations of the newspaper's reporter, who did not find anything to report to the newspaper so he created false and untrue stories that are a figment of his imagination.
Horn Concerto, Mad Regales, Tintinnabulation, Wind Rose, Sound Fields, On Conversing with Paradise, Retracing, Clarinet Quintet, Figment V, La Musique, Retracing III, Due Duetti, Figment III, Figment IV, Poems of Louis Zukofsky, Retracing II.
This German countersniper character was a figment of Zaitsev's imagination and/or a creation of Soviet propaganda, very much needed during those dark days of WWII.
It is just a rose-tinted figment of his imagination.
The old and new testaments are a figment of man's self-importance and naivete.
In reading William McNairn's letter "Double taxation of dividends?" (California CPA, December 2004), I feel that he is ignoring the substance over form in what he calls a "figment of conventional wisdom."