Far-fetched – Meaning & Definition

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

Far-fetched is a compound word of far and fetched whose meaning should not be taken literally. This adjective is an idiom that means unlikely to be true. Read on to learn the full definition of far-fetched and examples of how to use it in a sentence. I explain everything you need to know with helpful examples.

Far-Fetched Meaning

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Far-fetched is a word that means barely believable based on logical or normal thinking. Think of an idea or story someone told you that is unlikely to be true. You can describe it as far-fetched.

We can also use it in an archaic sense to mean brought from a distance. When something is far-fetched, it means it is obtained from a remote place or time.

Far-fetched belongs to adjectives, which means it modifies nouns and pronouns.

Is It Far-Fetched, Farfetched, or Far Fetched?

The more acceptable term is far-fetched, the hyphenated compound form. The Oxford English Dictionary also recognizes far fetched and farfetched. But some don’t recommend combining far and fetched as one word or separating them as two.

Far-Fetched Origin

Far fetched Ngram
Far-fetched usage trend.

The earliest use of the word far-fetched was recorded in the latter 1500s. It used to mean something brought from a faraway place. As language evolved, far-fetched began to take on a figurative meaning.

It is said that far-fetched started to mean unbelievable when British sailors went home from America, bringing exaggerated stories along with artifacts, crafts, and goods. People were so suspicious of these stories, hence the term far-fetched tales.

Far-Fetched Synonym

Here are some synonyms and relevant words for far-fetched.

  • Improbable
  • Unlikely
  • Implausible
  • Dubious
  • Doubtful
  • Unconvincing
  • Incredible
  • Contrived
  • Strained
  • Labored
  • Forced
  • Absurd
  • Fishy
  • Hokey
  • Hard to swallow/take
  • Preposterous
  • Ridiculous
  • Unrealistic
  • Overdone
  • Fanciful
  • Elaborate
  • Unthinkable
  • Scarcely credible
  • Difficult to believe

Far-Fetched in a Sentence

  • I don’t like listening to your far-fetched tales.
  • Your account of the incident seems far-fetched.
  • My imagination allows me to create far-fetched stories in my head.
  • Pfizer says that the way the AKS is interpreted, it could be used to prosecute “charitable family members and friends,” who would help patients make their co-payments. In its court filing (PDF), the HHS dismissed the position as “speculative and far-fetched.” (Fierce Pharma)
  • In making this call today, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said the state government must put on hold visionary projects which he described as “too far-fetched” for the rakyat. (The Borneo Post)
  • I have some questions about Avatar, and the concept of Eywa – a worldwide neural network embodied in plants, animals, and particularly ancient trees. Does this sound too far-fetched? (Dazed Digital)

Final Word on Far-Fetched

I hope this article clarifies any confusion you have with the definition and spelling of the compound word far-fetched.

Remember that this adjective means unbelievable. It comes from the idea that British sailors brought far-fetched goods from America along with their exaggerated tales. Does the origin of far-fetched as an idiom seem accurate or far-fetched to you?