"act or fact of feigning or making a copy of," especially with intent to deceive or defraud; verbal noun from counterfeit (v.). Earlier was counterfeiture (early 14c.).
1620s, "molded or formed by art," from Latin fictilis "made of clay, earthen," from fictio "a fashioning or feigning," noun of action from past participle stem of fingere "to shape, form, devise, feign," originally "to knead, form out of clay" (from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build"). From 1670s as "capable of being molded." From 1854 as "pertaining to pottery." Related: Fictility.
mid-14c., simulacioun, "a false show, false profession," from Old French simulation "pretence" and directly from Latin simulationem (nominative simulatio) "an imitating, feigning, false show, hypocrisy," noun of action from past-participle stem of simulare "imitate," from stem of similis "like, resembling, of the same kind" (see similar). The meaning "a model or mock-up for purposes of experiment or training" is from 1954.
"sudden nervous shock and paralysis, the state of an animal when it is feigning death," 1880, Latinized and Anglicized from German Kataplexie(1878), from Greek kataplexis "stupefaction, amazement, consternation," from kataplēssein "to strike down" (with fear, etc.), from kata "down" (see cata-) + plēssein "to strike, hit" (from PIE root *plak- (2) "to strike"). The German word was coined by William Thierry Preyer (1841-1897), English-born German physiologist, in "Die Kataplexie und der thierische Hypnotismus" (Jena). Related: Cataplectic.
also pretence, early 15c., "the putting forth of a claim; false or hypocritical profession, feigning, disguise, that under cover of which an actual design or meaning is concealed," also "a stated ground or reason, an assertion of a legal right," from Anglo-French pretensse(Modern French prétense), from Medieval Latin pretensio, noun of action from Late Latin praetensus, altered from Latin praetentus, past participle of praetendere "stretch in front, put forward; allege" (see pretend (v.)).
A 17c. respelling of fain, fein, from Middle English feinen, feynen "disguise or conceal (deceit, falsehood, one's real meaning); dissemble, make false pretenses, lie; pretend to be" (c. 1300), from Old French feindre "hesitate, falter; be indolent; lack courage; show weakness," also transitive, "to shape, fashion; depict, represent; feign, pretend; imitate" (12c.), from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build").
From late 14c. as "simulate (an action, an emotion, etc.)." Related: Feigned; feigning. The older spelling is that of faint, feint, but this word acquired a -g- in imitation of the French present participle stem feign- and the Latin verb.
early 15c., ficcioun, "that which is invented or imagined in the mind," from Old French ficcion "dissimulation, ruse; invention, fabrication" (13c.) and directly from Latin fictionem (nominative fictio) "a fashioning or feigning," noun of action from past participle stem of fingere "to shape, form, devise, feign," originally "to knead, form out of clay," from PIE root *dheigh- "to form, build."
Meaning "prose works (not dramatic) of the imagination" is from 1590s, at first often including plays and poems. Narrower sense of "the part of literature comprising novels and short stories based on imagined scenes or characters" is by early 19c. The legal sense (fiction of law) is from 1580s. A writer of fiction could be a fictionist (1827). The related Latin words included the literal notion "worked by hand," as well as the figurative senses of "invented in the mind; artificial, not natural": Latin fictilis "made of clay, earthen;" fictor "molder, sculptor" (also borrowed 17c. in English), but also of Ulysses as "master of deceit;" fictum "a deception, falsehood; fiction."