After exhaustive online research, I found the following information: factoid was minted by Norman the Mailer in his 1937 or 1973 Marilyn Monroe biography. Since facts have later come to light about her unfortunate connections with certain men of some importance, I think Mailer's account was probably censored by the government. Not saying it was right or wrong of the Land That I Love, just that it probably happened.
William the Safire, whose wonderful "On Language" essays in The New Yorker magazine were so witty and perfect, I once decoupaged one wall in my bathroom with my favorites to re-read, or xeroxed them and mailed them to friends, not knowing the man would be so prolific.
Friends called me on the phone begging me to stop; they didn't want to end up getting wire-tapped, due to his controversial ideas. Or they mailed the articles back, unopened. I just kept scissoring and pasting his essays up, heck, it was my bathroom, then one hallway, then the living room. Cheaper than paint or conventional wall paper.
I admired Safire for many reasons and still do today, in small part because he eschewed factoid in favor of factlet. Note: neither word appears in my very own 1985 Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, between fact of life and factor.
The ever reliable online Merriam Webster gives the following definition of factoid for kids: 1) a made-up piece of information thought to be true due to its appearance in print, 2) a brief often trivial news item.
Then came the useful rhymes with factoid list for those among us who are ambivelent regarding when to rhyme: android, avoid, chancroid, colloid, conoid, crinoid, cuboid, cycloid, deltoid, dendroid, devoid, discoid, fibroid, fungoid, ganoid, globoid, hydroid, hypocycloid, hypnoid, keloid, mastoid, mucoid, ovoid, prismoid, pygmoid, polymoid, rhizoid, rhomboid, schizoid, scombroid, sigmoid, spheroid, steroid, styloid, tabloid, terrazoid, thalloid, thyroid, toroid, toxoid, trochoid, typhoid, Veddoid, viroid.
Going back to my trusty 1985 Webster's, I got lost looking for more words to rhyme with factoid, forgetting my reason was to look up the suffix,--oid, which clarifies correct usage: 1) noun suffix: something resembling a (specified) object or having a (specified) quality as in globoid and 2) adjective suffix: resembling: having the form or appearance of as in petaloid.
Now I know there are many Factoidoftheday.com sites, but remember, in my thorough reading, shockingly, no search results were found on WolframMathWorld; yet WebMD uses factoid sparingly. Also bear in mind, this IS the internet. And I'm still trying to get into LieQuest 2013.
- craziest so far, suggested "corticoid, mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid (both gender neutral), ending with Sigmund Freud.
- going out on a limb, or an olive branch, but it appears I offended the above user with the word "crazy"; for that I sincerely apologise and promise not to even try writing any haiku or poetry using any words ending in "oid."
- a crossword puzzle and Scrabble enthusiast suggested I add zebroid and zincoid.