1 of 2


hoaxed; hoaxing; hoaxes

transitive verb

: to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous
were hoaxed by the website
hoaxer noun


2 of 2


: an act intended to trick or dupe : imposture
the victim of a cruel hoax
assumed the bomb threat was just a hoax
: something accepted or established by fraud or fabrication
believes the Loch Ness Monster is a hoax
a literary hoax

Examples of hoax in a Sentence

Verb a skilled forger who hoaxed the art world into believing that the paintings were long-lost Vermeers Noun The bomb threat is probably a hoax, but we should still evacuate the building. She was the victim of a cruel hoax.
Recent Examples on the Web
Students recall fear, confusion as Harvard University police responded to hoax emergency call Ultimately, the blame for any swatting incident belongs with the caller reporting the hoax, Davis said. John Hilliard, BostonGlobe.com, 7 Apr. 2023 The White House at the time praised Jordan, one of eight House lawmakers who were part of Trump’s defense team in his first Senate impeachment trial, for his work to ‘’unmask the Russia hoax and take on Deep State corruption’' and for his efforts to ‘’confront the impeachment witch hunt. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Apr. 2023 Advertisement How aspiring Indian entrepreneurs and students were hoaxed in the quest for funding The World Startup Convention was originally scheduled for Jan. 14-16., before it was postponed to March 24-26. Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 30 Mar. 2023 Related:Teen jailed after bomb threat hoax AirDropped to American Airlines passengers in El Paso The passenger was traveling with a companion and both were unharmed, though their clothes were soiled with food and wine. Dallas News, 2 Mar. 2023 After trying to hoax journalists with Project Veritas, Loomer moved to direct confrontations with public figures in recent years, disrupting interviews and news conferences. Terry Spencer, orlandosentinel.com, 19 Aug. 2020 False news articles were deliberately spread across our feeds to hoax us. Joanna Stern, WSJ, 8 Nov. 2018 The effort, dubbed #ThinkBeforeYouPost, reminds would-be pranksters that hoax threats are not a joke and could result in federal or state charges. Karen Kucher, sandiegouniontribune.com, 10 June 2018
Staff Pick: An age-old argument A Black woman's recent social media post about being hit in the face with a brick drew reaction from women and men alike who thought her story was a hoax. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 19 Sep. 2023 Some right-wing commentators and news outlets called Bernard’s story a hoax. Ben Brasch, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2023 Box has a history as an enthusiastic supporter of conspiracy theories, ranging from the Kennedy assassination to Sept. 11 hoaxes to claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Chris Joyner The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (tns), al, 22 Aug. 2023 Until it was quickly proved to be a hoax, duping some within the UFO truthing community in the process. Alex Zaragoza, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2023 She has since been charged in connection with the kidnapping hoax. Dateline Nbc, NBC News, 5 Sep. 2023 Nearly 40 years after outré comedian Andy Kaufman’s death from cancer, there remain fans who are certain that a faked demise was Kaufman’s most ambitious and committed hoax. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Aug. 2023 Unlike hoaxes involving active shooters, bomb threats warrant a different response and the onus is on the school or business to decide whether a building should be evacuated. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, 30 Aug. 2023 Barbie's role: Gov. Whitmer embraces Barbie; Michigan State Police deletes 'Barbie' post Barbie Liberation Organization claimed credit for carrying out the hoax. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 2 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Verb and Noun

probably contraction of hocus

First Known Use


circa 1796, in the meaning defined above


1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hoax was circa 1796

Dictionary Entries Near hoax

Cite this Entry

“Hoax.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoax. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an act intended to trick or deceive
: something false passed off or accepted as genuine
hoax verb
hoaxer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hoax

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