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
Doxxed addresses have led to hoax 911 calls that prompted SWAT teams to raid victims’ homes. Ali Breland, The Atlantic, 10 June 2024 Such criticism has led some police to respond more aggressively to hoax school shooting calls. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 5 Oct. 2023
Despite the fact that the conspiracy would have involved nearly 400,000 people over the course of the 10 years of the Apollo project, there remains about five to 10 percent of the population who insist the moon landing was a hoax. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 12 July 2024 Less than a decade after the July 20, 1969, moon landing united much of the world in astonishment and awe, various movies, books and other sources started claiming that the Apollo 11 mission was a massive hoax. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for hoax 

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 20 Jul. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!