Easily Confusable F-Words
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- If someone is fractious, he/she is irritable and is likely to cause disruption.
- We rarely invite my fractious Uncle over for dinner; he always complains about the food, and usually launches into a tirade on some touchy subject.
- Factions result when a large group splinters into smaller ones. Anything that causes factions is factious.
- The controversial bill proved factious, as dissension even within parties resulted.
- A tricky word, to say the least. When I preface a word by saying it’s tricky, you can bet that the word’s definition is not what you would expect. Factitious is no exception, in that it does not relate to fact. Indeed, factitious is almost the opposite of fact. Factitious means artificial, not natural. A laugh can be factitious. A gesture. Your alacrity on the first day of a new job.
- Factitious can also be used literally to refer to something artificial. The houseplant that never needs watering, for instance. A good synonym for factitious—and a word people use frequently—is phony.
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