Definition of feign
feign was our Word of the Day on 06/22/2016. Hear the podcast!
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 and Etymology 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 English Language Learners
Definition of feign for English Language Learners
: to pretend to feel or be affected by (something)
FEIGN Defined for Kids
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