bo·​gus | \ ˈbō-gəs How to pronounce bogus (audio) \

Definition of bogus

: not genuine : counterfeit, sham a bogus claim The evidence was completely bogus.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bogus

bogusly adverb
bogusness noun

Bogus Has a Long History

You may know bogus as a slang word meaning "uncool" or simply "no good," but did you know that bogus has actually been a part of English since the early 1800s? Not only was the word coined then, it was actually doing some coining of its own, so to speak. Back then, a bogus was a machine used to make counterfeit coins. No one knows for sure how this coin-copying contraption got its name, but before long bogus had also become a popular noun for funny money itself or for a fraudulent imitation of any kind. The more general "phony" adjective began being used about the same time.

Examples of bogus in a Sentence

It was just a bogus claim. The evidence was completely bogus.

Recent Examples on the Web

Many in Hong Kong worry that Communist officials will use it to seize political dissidents and others who run afoul of the party, for trial on bogus charges. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "In Battle for Hong Kong, the Field Has Tilted Toward Beijing," 12 June 2019 There’s just one little problem: a number of the claims in the video are unfounded or bogus, and had been debunked in the past. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "The viral spread of a bogus video shows the insidiousness of misinformation," 6 June 2019 The survey was bogus, a ruse cooked up by investigators to get a sample of Vannieuwenhoven's DNA., "Decades after a couple was killed on a hiking trail, a sealed envelope leads to an arrest," 3 June 2019 Invariably, the financial institutions would then refund the money based on the bogus account-hacking claim. San Diego Union-Tribune, "County authorities charge 21 people in complex fraud schemes that netted $5M," 20 June 2019 And the whiffage had nothing to do with any bogus strike zone. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 6, Astros 3 (14): Brewers claim another marathon despite striking out 24 times," 12 June 2019 Similar efforts, including fake units and bogus radio traffic, were used as part of Fortitude North under Operation Cockade, which created a fictional British Fourth Army that was headquartered at Edinburgh Castle. Fox News, "D-Day deception: How phantom armies and fake information helped win the Battle of Normandy," 6 June 2019 Friendswood police also recently handled cases involving debit-card fraud and one in which a man lost nearly $6,000 in a scam related to a bogus overseas job opportunity. Jennifer James, Houston Chronicle, "Friendswood police: Grandmom loses $25K to caller posing as officer," 5 June 2019 At best, these clinics are selling bogus treatments that cost patients thousands of dollars, say industry critics; at worst, the therapies can cause permanent harm. Erin Allday,, "Ruling against stem cell clinic has repercussions for industry, Calif. firm," 4 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bogus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bogus

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bogus

obsolete argot bogus counterfeit money

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bogus

Listen to Our Podcast about bogus

Statistics for bogus

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bogus

The first known use of bogus was in 1825

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bogus



English Language Learners Definition of bogus

informal : not real or genuine : fake or false


bo·​gus | \ ˈbō-gəs How to pronounce bogus (audio) \

Kids Definition of bogus

: not genuine The miracle they told us about turned out to be bogus.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bogus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bogus

Spanish Central: Translation of bogus

Nglish: Translation of bogus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bogus for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bogus

What made you want to look up bogus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!