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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.
See also: figment, imagination, of

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 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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Mr Farrell may think ghosts are figments of the imagination, but millions of people across the world have seen ghosts, and that list includes Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Charles, Sting, and even several Presidents of the United States.
Expertly shot by Knut Klassen and edited by Marc Aschenbrenner as though the camera were Bock's body or Bock's eyes were the camera, these shimmering, visionary figments of an unstoppable imagination are critical to the ongoing debate on how to read and remember live art's history while contributing to a performance idiom of the future.
Expensive and flamboyant architecture, fountains, decor, statues and so-called pieces of art are usually figments of committee claptrap.
And while their production lines may have been only pretend, their wealth and power mere figments of their imaginations, the lessons learned by the third- through sixth-graders couldn't be more real.
A few of the cutouts have fallen off and the semenlike stain of the glue ghosts the shape of a body: These men are figments of the imagination but also the vestiges of the muscular frames that blossomed in '50s physical-culture magazines (a kind of protoporn) and returned with a steroid-fueled vengeance in the '80s, sublimation of the wasting body of AIDS.
A lot of (the hotels) are figments of people's imaginations,'' Reiling said.
Somewhere between Brancusi-esque bases without their better halves and supertechnological "appliances" for a race of freaks, these freckly figments seem neither purely aesthetic nor wholly functional: They linger somewhere uncomfortably in-between.
Although the roots of these figures go back to social-realist murals of Klansmen that Guston painted in the '30s, the hoods reborn in the late '60s seem less malevolent than quirky, even adorable, as figments of his own character.
Thursday Women's League: Outlaws 3-0-1; Covenant Women 3-1; PMS 2-1-1; PC's Total Chaos 2-2; No Fear 1-3; Figments 0-4.
In the recent offering, Nietzsche was the hero, set upon by what may be figments of his own fantasy.