Worldbuilding means putting details into a fictional world. The result, which is a bunch of details of the said fictional world, don't seem to have a specific word for it, or does it?

How would you refer to it if you can't think of a word?

For example:

In order to have a really imaginative ___, you need to put a lot of work into your worldbuilding.

  • 1
    As far as I'm concerned, once it's done, you've created a . . . world. Just like once you've finished building a building, what's left is a . . . building. Or am I missing something? Mar 30, 2019 at 3:03
  • Yes, because saying "detailed world" seems to imply that your fictional world is "objectively less detailed" if you don't detail it.
    – Sayaman
    Mar 30, 2019 at 3:07
  • That doesn't make sense to me. Using the word worldbuilding doesn't necessitate building a detailed world. (Who's to say when it's detailed enough?) But even if it did mean that, that's what you'd be left with: a detailed world. Mar 30, 2019 at 3:16
  • Using that wording lead to suggestions that may mislead people and may sound weird. World may seem to be under detailed while being "objectively" detailed in the context of a fictional world.
    – Sayaman
    Mar 30, 2019 at 3:21
  • Using what wording? I just repeated what you said. ("Detailed world.") I honestly don't know what you're asking. Why is world or detailed world insufficient? Either of those seem to work within the example sentence you've provided. Mar 30, 2019 at 3:27

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately there's not a snappy word for this. I consulted some examples, and I believe something like "fictional universe" or "fictional world" is the best phrase.

  • Problem is that it's not really a universe or world were really talking about, is there a more specific word or phrase?
    – Sayaman
    Mar 30, 2019 at 1:40
  • Universe in this context is more abstract. For example, one could speak of the "fictional universe of Harry Potter", despite the fact that those stories take place in England. a non-fictional place. If you could provide some more context, I could help think of something more specific. Mar 30, 2019 at 1:44

The most appropriate single word to go in there would be setting. When you're worldbuilding, you're coming up with the setting for a story (or game, or whatever) - the context in which the work is set.

It needn't be a whole world or a universe. It can be a country. It encompasses the idea of how society is set up (if different from our own), what technology is like, if the laws of nature are different, what different races there are (if any), and so on.

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