Simple Definition of feign
: to pretend to feel or be affected by (something)
Full Definition of feign
Examples of feign in a sentence
I wince, feigning interest in a TV Guide and mumbling a hello. —Douglas Coupland, Generation X, 1991
Success keeps her busy. “Relaxation?” she asks, feigning puzzlement. “What's that?” —Jennifer Johnston, New Woman, November 1990
… Brad would sometimes clown or feign clumsiness just to crack her composed expression with a blush or a disapproving frown. —John Updike, Trust Me, 1987
<I would never feign illness just to get out of a test.>
Did You Know?
Feign is all about faking it, but that hasn't always been so. In one of its earliest senses, feign meant "to fashion, form, or shape." That meaning is true to the term's Latin ancestor: the verb "fingere," which also means "to shape." The current senses of "feign" still retain the essence of the Latin source, since to feign something, such as surprise or an illness, requires one to fashion an impression or shape an image. Several other English words that trace to the same ancestor refer to things that are shaped with either the hands, as in "figure" and "effigy," or the imagination, as in "fiction" and "figment."
Origin of feign
Middle English, from Anglo-French feign-, stem of feindre, from Latin fingere to shape, feign — more at dough
First Known Use: 13th century
Synonym Discussion of feign
FEIGN Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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