Verb > Fabricate

Here’s one of those basic verbs we all know, one that could be put to good use more often.

Fabric” and “fabricate” trace back to a Latin word meaning “artisan: person who creates things out of materials.”

To fabricate things literally is to create them out of different parts or pieces.

And to fabricate things figuratively is to make them up or invent them, as if you’re taking lots of little lies and stitching them together into one big lie.

FAB rick ate

Part of speech:
Verb, the transitive kind: “they fabricated the documents,” “the evidence was entirely fabricated.”

Other forms:
fabricated, fabricating, fabrication(s), fabricator(s)

How to use it:
Fabricate” and “fabricated” are the harsh, serious, grown-up versions of “make up” and “made-up.”

Talk about people fabricating physical items, usually documents: letters, photographs, passports, driver’s licenses, etc.

And talk about people fabricating abstract things, like lies, claims, data, stories, excuses, information, explanations, etc.

It’s worth noting that although people do fabricate things on purpose, we also do this accidentally, due to our many imperfections in perception and memory. It’s creepy to think of it, but you may be harboring memories that were, in whole or part, fabricated by your mind.

Lastly, although “fabricate” generally carries a harsh, judgmental tone, you might find joy in harmless, even delightful fabrications, like when children fabricate outlandish excuses, or when writers fabricate fantastic universes.

“Instead of wholly fabricated stories, influence agents are reframing genuine content and using hyperbolic headlines.”
— Claire Wardle, Scientific American, 20 August 2019

“In highly emotional, partisan political contests, voters may ‘remember’ entirely fabricated news stories.”
— Gillian Murphy, news release from Association for Psychological Science, 21 August 2019