Science Fiction | Definition of Science Fiction by Merriam-Webster

Definition of science fiction

: fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component

Other Words from science fiction

science-fictional ˈsī-​ən(t)s-​ˈfik-​shnəl How to pronounce science-fictional (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl adjective

Examples of science fiction in a Sentence

Time travel exists only in the realm of science fiction.

Recent Examples on the Web Is that a realistic scenario, or bad science fiction?

John P.a. Ioannidis, STAT, “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data,” 17 Mar. 2020
For the fourth straight year, thousands of comic and science fiction fans, many in cosplay, filled the convention center Saturday to take and share photos, shop and meet some of their favorite celebrities who signed and posed for photos.

Joshua Gunter, cleveland, “Wizard World Cleveland fans pack Huntington Convention Center for comic con (photos),” 8 Mar. 2020
In science fiction, the future generally comes in one of two varieties: idealized or dystopian.

Judy Berman, Time, “HBO’s Avenue 5 Transports Veep Creator Armando Iannucci’s Dark, Profane Humor to Outer Space,” 16 Jan. 2020
At Cardona’s suggestion, Electric Hamsa taps Arab-futurism, a loose movement of novelists, filmmakers and performing artists who filter traditional Middle Eastern cultural practices through dystopian science fiction to mirror the contemporary world.

Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, “Arab-futurism, belly dancers, drummers and paper sculptures — Teatro Dallas’ International Festival is back,” 16 Jan. 2020
In addition to titles about science fiction, sports and animals, Guevara also sorts books into categories such as LGBTQ, female and male protagonists and graphic novels.

Richard A. Marini,, “Classroom libraries at San Antonio’s Southwest High School help turn students who ‘hate’ books into readers,” 17 Feb. 2020
Even in science fiction, where anything is theoretically possible, the lily was plenty gilded before Netflix jumped into its own film.

Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, “Netflix and Hulu, I beg you: Stop plugging yourselves during your TV shows and movies,” 29 July 2019
Indeed, the first episode delves into the story of John W. Campbell Jr, the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, who is largely credited with launching the Golden Age of science fiction in the 1930s and 1940s.

Andrew Liptak, The Verge, “Moonrise looks to the space race to find out what we can learn about returning to the Moon,” 21 July 2019
But the science fiction elements quickly fade into the background as religion dominates.

Ruth Franklin, The New York Review of Books, “L’Engle’s Cosmic Catechism,” 25 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘science fiction.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of science fiction

1851, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Science fiction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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Kids Definition of science fiction

: made-up stories about the influence of real or imagined science on society or individuals

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