false

1 of 2

adjective

falser; falsest
1
: not genuine
false documents
false teeth
2
a
: intentionally untrue
false testimony
b
: adjusted or made so as to deceive
false scales
a trunk with a false bottom
c
: intended or tending to mislead
a false promise
3
: not true
false concepts
4
a
: not faithful or loyal : treacherous
a false friend
b
: lacking naturalness or sincerity
false sympathy
5
a
: not essential or permanent
used of parts of a structure that are temporary or supplemental
b
: fitting over a main part to strengthen it, to protect it, or to disguise its appearance
a false ceiling
6
: inaccurate in pitch
a false note
7
a
: based on mistaken ideas
false pride
b
: inconsistent with the facts
a false position
a false sense of security
8
: threateningly sudden or deceptive
don't make any false moves
falsely adverb
falseness noun

false

2 of 2

adverb

: in a false or faithless manner : treacherously
his friends played him false
Choose the Right Synonym for false

faithless, false, disloyal, traitorous, treacherous, perfidious mean untrue to what should command one's fidelity or allegiance.

faithless applies to any failure to keep a promise or pledge or any breach of allegiance or loyalty.

faithless allies

false stresses the fact of failing to be true in any manner ranging from fickleness to cold treachery.

betrayed by false friends

disloyal implies a lack of complete faithfulness to a friend, cause, leader, or country.

disloyal to their country

traitorous implies either actual treason or a serious betrayal of trust.

traitorous acts punishable by death

treacherous implies readiness to betray trust or confidence.

a treacherous adviser

perfidious adds to faithless the implication of an incapacity for fidelity or reliability.

a perfidious double-crosser

Examples of false in a Sentence

Adjective Indicate whether each of the following statements is true or false. He registered at the hotel under a false name.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Smith has accused Trump of deceitfully organizing fake slates of electors in seven battleground states and urging state officials to send the false certificates to Congress. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 16 Apr. 2024 The lawsuit, brought by attorney Ryan Clarkson, also accuses Casting Networks of false advertising. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 16 Apr. 2024 Breaking news events, where facts are not firmly established, are frequently a vector for false and misleading content on social media. Jude Joffe-Block, NPR, 16 Apr. 2024 Long, fluttery false lashes and glossy red lips added to the glam factor, as did her nails, which were sheer at the base and tipped in black with 3D bows. Kara Nesvig, Allure, 16 Apr. 2024 More:Jewish groups increase security after swatting spree of hundreds of false bomb threats Antisemitic incidents on campuses tripled in 2023 The ADL's audit revealed that antisemitic incidents increased in multiple settings in 2023, but schools experienced a drastic spike. Rachel Barber, USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2024 Special counsel Jack Smith, however, has said the charges against Trump rest on stronger grounds because Trump allegedly schemed to submit false slates of electors to Congress. David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2024 On the other hand, there’s research implying that many false beliefs are little more than cheap talk. Manvir Singh, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 Protests and upheaval against the two men’s deaths, racial injustice and a war of false pretenses were ripping apart the nation’s very soul. David Baldacci, Peoplemag, 15 Apr. 2024
Adverb
Mitchell, of Canton, won the 2019 State Open 100-meter title after Miller false-started and was disqualified. Lori Riley, Hartford Courant, 14 Feb. 2023

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Adverb

Middle English fals, faus, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin falsus, from past participle of fallere to deceive

First Known Use

Adjective

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of false was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near false

Cite this Entry

“False.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/false. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

false

adjective
ˈfȯls
falser; falsest
1
: not genuine
false documents
false teeth
2
a
: intentionally untrue
false testimony
b
: intended or tending to mislead
false promise
3
: not true : incorrect
false information
4
: not faithful or loyal : treacherous
5
: not necessary to structure
a false ceiling
6
: inaccurate in pitch
a false note
7
: based on mistaken ideas
false pride
falsely adverb
falseness noun

Medical Definition

false

adjective
falser; falsest
1
: not corresponding to truth or reality
a test for HIV which gave false results
2
: artificially made
false teeth
3
: of a kind related to or resembling another kind that is usually designated by the unqualified vernacular
false oats
falsely adverb
falseness noun

Legal Definition

false

adjective
1
: not genuine, authentic, or legitimate compare counterfeit
2
a
: not true or correct
especially : intentionally or knowingly untrue or incorrect
injured by false accusations
b
: intended to mislead or deceive : deceptive, misleading compare fraudulent
falsely adverb
falseness noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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