figment of the imagination, a

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