from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A group of persons forming a cohesive, usually contentious minority within a larger group.
  • n. Conflict within an organization or nation; internal dissension: "Our own beloved country . . . is now afflicted with faction and civil war” ( Abraham Lincoln).
  • n. A form of literature or filmmaking that treats real people or events as if they were fictional or uses real people or events as essential elements in an otherwise fictional rendition.
  • n. A literary work or film that is a mix of fact and fiction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A group of people, especially within a political organization, who express a shared belief or opinion different from people who are not part of the group.
  • n. Strife; discord.
  • n. A form of literature, film etc., that treats real people or events as if they were fiction; a mix of fact and fiction

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the divisions or parties of charioteers (distinguished by their colors) in the games of the circus.
  • n. A party, in political society, combined or acting in union, in opposition to the government, or state; -- usually applied to a minority, but it may be applied to a majority; a combination or clique of partisans of any kind, acting for their own interests, especially if greedy, clamorous, and reckless of the common good.
  • n. Tumult; discord; dissension.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A party of persons having a common end in view; usually, such a party seeking by irregular means to bring about changes in government or in the existing state of affairs, or in any association of which they form part; a combination of persons using subversive or perverse methods of promoting their own selfish or partizan views or interests, especially in matters of state.
  • n. Combined disorderly opposition to established authority; turbulence; tumult; dissension.
  • n. In Roman antiquity, one of the classes into which the charioteers in the circensian games were divided, one of each contending in a race.
  • n. Synonyms Combination, Party, etc. See cabal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue
  • n. a dissenting clique


French, from Latin factiō, factiōn-, from factus, past participle of facere, to do; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
Blend of fact and fiction.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from Middle French faction, from Latin factiō, noun of process from perfect passive participle factus, from faciō ("do, make"). (Wiktionary)
Blend of fact and fiction. (Wiktionary)



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  • '"Faction" is a hybrid genre, aiming at the factual accuracy of journalism on the one hand and the literary form of the novel on the other. There is a fundamental tension however between those two aims, given the constraints which factual accuracy places on characterization, plot, and thematic exploration characteristic of the novel. Further, faction cannot be defended on the grounds that factual accuracy is a literary value in faction. Finally, some aspects of faction, such as its inability to refer to sources or provide an analytic framework for a narrative, hinder rather than facilitate the communication of facts.'
    ~ abstract of 'The Case Against Faction' in Philosophy and Literature 32, pp. 347-358

    November 17, 2008