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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

Example Sentences

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
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, sun-sentinel.com, 19 Aug. 2020 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
This one was the worst violation; 9/11 was not a hoax. ABC News, 22 Jan. 2023 The website secured the messages from Mark Bankston, a Texas lawyer who last year was involved in litigation from families of Sandy Hook victims, in a defamation action against Jones, who repeatedly claimed that the school massacre was a hoax. Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2023 Football player Manti Te’o, whose story was featured in a recent Netflix documentary, fell victim to a catfish hoax. Faith Karimi, CNN, 3 Dec. 2022 While staying with her former boyfriend, Papini cut her hair, bruised and branded herself to give validity to the kidnapping hoax and continued to repeat her false kidnapping story years later when confronted by federal investigators. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2022 Many have speculated about the meaning of the number 1232 scratched into the rock along with a Latin inscription, calling it everything from an enigma to a hoax. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 25 Aug. 2021 In July, Mastriano attended a rally on the Gettysburg battlefield, where militia members gathered in response to a hoax circulated on social media that Antifa was going to topple Confederate statues. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 9 May 2021 Juries in Connecticut and Texas ordered the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $1.4 billion for promoting lies that the massacre was a hoax. Dave Collins, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Dec. 2022 After years of denial, Jones recently said the Sandy Hook massacre was real — in contrast to previous claims that the shooting was a hoax pulled off by actors as part of a plot to seize Americans' guns. Cristian Santana, NBC News, 2 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hoax.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 3 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

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