verb \ˈfān\

Definition of feign

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  pretend, dissemble He told the truth because he was no good at feigning.

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1a :  to give a false appearance of :  induce as a false impression feign deathb :  to assert as if true :  pretend He feigned that he was not feeling well so that he could leave the party early.

  5. 2 archaic a :  invent, imagineb :  to give fictional representation to

  6. 3 obsolete :  disguise, conceal



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Examples of feign in a Sentence

  1. I wince, feigning interest in a TV Guide and mumbling a hello. —Douglas Coupland, Generation X, 1991

  2. Success keeps her busy. “Relaxation?” she asks, feigning puzzlement. “What's that?” —Jennifer Johnston, New Woman, November 1990

  3. … 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

  4. I would never feign illness just to get out of a test.

The Shape of The History of feign

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 and Etymology of feign

Middle English, from Anglo-French feign-, stem of feindre, from Latin fingere to shape, feign — more at dough

Synonym Discussion of feign

assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive. assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling. affected an interest in art pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance. pretended that nothing had happened simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something. cosmetics that simulate a suntan feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate . feigned sickness counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words. an actor counterfeiting drunkenness sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible. shammed a most unconvincing limp

FEIGN Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of feign for English Language Learners

  • : to pretend to feel or be affected by (something)

FEIGN Defined for Kids


verb \ˈfān\

Definition of feign for Students




  1. :  pretend 2 feigning sickness

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