1 of 2


: something feigned
specifically : a mock blow or attack on or toward one part in order to distract attention from the point one really intends to attack
The boxer made a feint with his right, then followed with a left hook.


2 of 2


feinted; feinting; feints

intransitive verb

: to make a feint

transitive verb

: to lure or deceive with a feint
: to make a pretense of
Choose the Right Synonym for feint

trick, ruse, stratagem, maneuver, artifice, wile, feint mean an indirect means to gain an end.

trick may imply deception, roguishness, illusion, and either an evil or harmless end.

the tricks of the trade

ruse stresses an attempt to mislead by a false impression.

the ruses of smugglers

stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit, circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy.

the stratagem-filled game

maneuver suggests adroit and skillful avoidance of difficulty.

last-minute maneuvers to avert bankruptcy

artifice implies ingenious contrivance or invention.

the clever artifices of the stage

wile suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false allurements.

used all of his wiles to ingratiate himself

feint implies a diversion or distraction of attention away from one's real intent.

a feint toward the enemy's left flank

Examples of feint in a Sentence

Noun The boxer made a feint with his right, then followed with a left hook. Verb He feinted with his right, then followed with a left hook.
Recent Examples on the Web
The volume marks the decisive first step in the sequence that has launched her to prestige in France, sown a fistful of acolytes, and made her first three works, all novels, look like feints before the stunning project that’s established her proper genre—a kind of autobiography. Tobi Haslett, Harper's Magazine, 18 Sep. 2023 The opening scene is a brilliant feint of dislocation that sets the tone — and the din — of what follows. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 After picking apart the American in a dominant first round, with a combination of feints and disguised kicks leaving Lee bloodied and battered, Silva continued to control proceedings in the second and third rounds to cruise to a unanimous decision win. Amin Touri, BostonGlobe.com, 19 Aug. 2023 June 8 — Ukraine launches second big counteroffensive After months of hints, feints, pleas for discretion, and deliveries of Western armaments, Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in eastern and southeastern Ukraine in early June. Peter Weber, The Week, 25 Aug. 2023 This was but a feint in the direction of compensation. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 25 Aug. 2023 Bud started upping the feints, forcing Willie to swing wide and hard. Tyler R. Tynes, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2023 After early uncertainty, these appear to be more than mere feints or probing attacks by Ukraine. Andrew E. Kramer David Guttenfelder, New York Times, 15 June 2023 The presto of the third was kept extra-presto, with beguiling feints (or faints?) of volume in the repeating theme of the strings. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 13 May 2023
Bud snaked his way inside, feinting in the middle distance and eating some shots on the way in — but nothing that rattled him. Tyler R. Tynes, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2023 The show also feints at a proper whodunnit, then builds to a nuanced, if anticlimactic conclusion, and all at a lazy river’s pace. Joshua Alston, Variety, 26 Apr. 2023 What’s more, Susan Neuman told me, some clever members of the sixty per cent may be able to feint their way through books for early readers, and so the true extent of their lack of decoding skills may not emerge until as late as third grade. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2022 Unlike Nolan, who wrestled with political questions in his Batman films—successfully or not—Snyder’s movies feint toward depth. Eliana Dockterman, Time, 15 Mar. 2021 But instead of just directly attacking the tackle’s near shoulder off the snap, Crawford disguises his intention by feinting a speed rush. John Owning, Dallas News, 3 June 2020 Sandworm spent years obfuscating and feinting and leaving false flags to suggest that others were behind its handiwork. Dina Temple-Raston, Washington Post, 26 Dec. 2019 Also feinting were designers like Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci and Area’s Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg, who used beading to create the effect of a dress layered upon a real one. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 1 Apr. 2019 That does lead us down an interesting path, though: If the story and the stars are a lot of what makes great rom-coms work, and Hollywood is feinting toward more inclusive casting and storytelling, how will rom-coms evolve going forward? Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, 29 Aug. 2018 See More

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

Word History



borrowed from French feinte, going back to Middle French fainte, feinte "act of dissembling, subterfuge," noun derivative from feminine past participle of feindre "to fabricate, dissemble, feign"


derivative of feint entry 1

First Known Use


1644, in the meaning defined above


1741, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of feint was in 1644

Dictionary Entries Near feint

Cite this Entry

“Feint.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feint. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a pretended blow or attack at one point in order to distract attention from the point one really intends to attack
feint verb

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