1 of 5


faker; fakest
: not true, real, or genuine : counterfeit, sham
He was wearing a fake mustache.
She held up the bowl to the window light and smiled her fakest smile yet …Lee Durkee
From the well-known to the unknown, fake news, misinformation and hate rhetoric are causing harm to many individuals.Dolar Popat


2 of 5

noun (1)

: one that is not what it purports to be: such as
: a worthless imitation passed off as genuine
The signature was a fake.
: impostor, charlatan
He told everyone that he was a lawyer, but he was just a fake.
: a simulated movement in a sports contest (such as a pretended kick, pass, or jump or a quick movement in one direction before going in another) designed to deceive an opponent
: a device or apparatus used by a magician to achieve the illusion of magic in a trick


3 of 5

verb (1)

faked; faking

transitive verb

: to alter, manipulate, or treat so as to give a spuriously (see spurious sense 2) genuine appearance to : doctor
faked the lab results
: counterfeit, simulate, concoct
faked a heart attack
: to deceive (an opponent) in a sports contest by means of a fake (see fake entry 2 sense c)
: improvise, ad-lib
whistle a few bars … and I'll fake the restRobert Sylvester

intransitive verb

: to engage in faking something : pretend
sometimes used with it
if you don't have the answers, fake it
: to give a fake to an opponent
The runner faked left and then cut to the right.
faker noun
fakery noun


4 of 5

noun (2)

: one loop of a coil (as of ship's rope or a fire hose) coiled free for running


5 of 5

verb (2)

faked; faking

transitive verb

: to coil in fakes
Choose the Right Synonym for fake

imposture, fraud, sham, fake, humbug, counterfeit mean a thing made to seem other than it is.

imposture applies to any situation in which a spurious object or performance is passed off as genuine.

their claim of environmental concern is an imposture

fraud usually implies a deliberate perversion of the truth.

the diary was exposed as a fraud

sham applies to fraudulent imitation of a real thing or action.

condemned the election as a sham

fake implies an imitation of or substitution for the genuine but does not necessarily imply dishonesty.

these jewels are fakes; the real ones are in the vault

humbug suggests elaborate pretense usually so flagrant as to be transparent.

creating publicity by foisting humbugs on a gullible public

counterfeit applies especially to the close imitation of something valuable.

20-dollar bills that were counterfeits

Examples of fake in a Sentence

Adjective That blood is clearly fake. He was wearing a fake mustache. Noun (1) experts declared that one of the museum's prized paintings was actually a fake a hidden-camera investigation revealed that the so-called psychic was a fake Verb (1) pranksters faked giant footprints and then claimed that they had seen Bigfoot while running for class president, Dan was not above faking friendship with people just to get their votes if you give me the gist of the plan, I can probably fake enough for the speech the running back faked the defense by stepping to his left and then quickly cutting to the right
Recent Examples on the Web
While self-tanning products are considered safer than spray tans or natural tans, some concerns have arisen surrounding dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is the ingredient in fake tanning products that gives skin a brown pigment. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 3 July 2024 Why is one of the tour dates listed on the Tempest shirt fake? Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 2 July 2024
The clip has several markings of a deep fake, from cuts in the video, to the strange accent and lip-and-mouth movements, according to Clément Briens, a researcher at cybersecurity company Recorded Future. Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN, 2 July 2024 Wolverine biologist Rebecca Watters has gotten used to people thinking wolverines are deep fakes or mythological creatures. Christine Peterson, Vox, 1 July 2024
Instead of treating the vomiting, fainting and serious dehydration, records showed that jail medical staff thought Serna was faking her illness. Jeff McDonald, The Mercury News, 3 July 2024 Some were outright harsh, with videos inventing the singer's reaction, laughing at him or faking tears. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for fake 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fake.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



derivative of fake entry 2

Note: Not recorded as an adjective before 1879. The supposed use by the British general Richard Howe in a dispatch from Boston to the Secretary of State dated December 3, 1775 ("So many artifices have been practiced upon Strangers under the appearance of Friendship, fake Pilots &c."; Report Concerning Canadian Archives for the Year 1904, Ottawa, 1905, p. 355) is most likely a misreading (perhaps for faux or false?).

Noun (1)

derivative of fake entry 3

Verb (1)

originally underworld argot, of uncertain origin

Note: The verb fake perhaps first appears in print, in the form faik, in 1810. In James Hardy Vaux's "A New and Comprehensive Vocabulary of the Flash Language" (vol. 2 of Hardy's Memoirs, London, 1819), it receives a very general definition: "a word so variously used, that I can only illustrate it by a few examples. To fake any person or place, may signify to rob them; to fake a person, may also imply to shoot, wound, or cut; to fake a man out and out, is to kill him; a man who inflicts wounds upon, or otherwise disfigures, himself, for any sinister purpose, is said to have faked himself … to fake a screeve, is to write a letter, or other paper; to fake a screw, is to shape out a skeleton or false key, for the purpose of screwing a particular place; to fake a cly, is to pick a pocket; etc., etc., etc." (p. 170). However, Hardy also records bit-faking "coining base money" and both Vaux and the earlier Lexicon Balatronicum (London, 1811, a revision of Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1785) record fakement in the sense "forgery." so the sense "to simulate, counterfeit" was perhaps part of its original meaning. Much earlier is the agent noun faker, defined as "maker" in a list of "Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams." in Randle Holme's The Academy of Armory (Chester, 1688) (a book about heraldry that includes a miscellany of information having nothing to do with heraldry). Along with faker Holme lists Ben-Fakers, "Counterfeiters of Passes and Seals" (ben is defined as "good"). This expression occurs earlier as ben-feaker in Thomas Dekker's pamphlet on cant, O per se O. Or A new cryer of Lanthorne and candle-light (London, 1612): "Of Ben-feakers of Jybes …They who are Counterfeiters of Passeports, are called Ben-feakers , that is to say, Good-Makers." (It is possible that Holme simply copied his entries from Dekker.) The noun feaker/faker implies a corresponding verb feak/fake "make," for which there appears to be no certain evidence. There is feague, fegue "to beat, whip" (earliest in the compound bumfeage) and "to wear out, bring about the ruin of," which are colloquial—the second sense is only attested in Restoration drama—but not argot, and which have a voiced velar consonant (aside from a single occurrence of a participle feakt). A suggestion dating back to Nathan Bailey's An Universal Etymological English Dictionary (4th edition, 1728) is that this word is borrowed from Dutch vegen "to sweep"; compare also German fegen "to wipe, clean, sweep." For further discussion see Anatoly Liberman, "A fake etymology of the word fake," OUPblog, August 23, 2017.

Noun (2)

probably derivative of fake entry 5

Verb (2)

Middle English faken, of obscure origin

First Known Use


1879, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

1829, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1819, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1627, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fake was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near fake

Cite this Entry

“Fake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fake. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 adjective
: not genuine : phony


2 of 3 noun
: an imitation that is passed off as genuine : counterfeit
: impostor
a medical fake


3 of 3 verb
faked; faking
: to change or treat so as to make false
faked the results
: counterfeit entry 1 sense 1
fake a rare first edition
faker noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fake

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