sham

noun
\ ˈsham How to pronounce sham (audio) \

Definition of sham

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a trick that deludes : hoax feared that the deal was a sham
2 : cheap falseness : hypocrisy saw through the hollowness, the sham, the silliness of the empty pageant— Oscar Wilde
3 : an ornamental covering for a pillow
4 : an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine
5 : a person who shams

sham

adjective

Definition of sham (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : not genuine : false, feigned
2 : having such poor quality as to seem false

sham

verb
shammed; shamming

Definition of sham (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to go through the external motions necessary to counterfeit

intransitive verb

: to act intentionally so as to give a false impression : feign

Other Words from sham

Verb

shammer \ ˈsha-​mər How to pronounce sham (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sham

Noun

imposture, fraud, sham, fake, humbug, counterfeit mean a thing made to seem other than it is. imposture applies to any situation in which a spurious object or performance is passed off as genuine. their claim of environmental concern is an imposture fraud usually implies a deliberate perversion of the truth. the diary was exposed as a fraud sham applies to fraudulent imitation of a real thing or action. condemned the election as a sham fake implies an imitation of or substitution for the genuine but does not necessarily imply dishonesty. these jewels are fakes; the real ones are in the vault humbug suggests elaborate pretense usually so flagrant as to be transparent. creating publicity by foisting humbugs on a gullible public counterfeit applies especially to the close imitation of something valuable. 20-dollar bills that were counterfeits

Verb

assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive. assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling. affected an interest in art pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance. pretended that nothing had happened simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something. cosmetics that simulate a suntan feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate. feigned sickness counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words. an actor counterfeiting drunkenness sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible. shammed a most unconvincing limp

Examples of sham in a Sentence

Noun He claims that the trial was a sham. Their marriage was a sham. Many people believed he could help them, but I knew he was a sham. She exposed their sham and hypocrisy. Adjective a sofa upholstered in sham leather street vendors selling sham designer handbags to gullible tourists Verb She wasn't really hurt; she was only shamming. He was shamming illness to avoid work. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bowman claims the independent investigation was a sham and asserts that the investigators never asked to speak with the three women who reported harassment. Kim Elsesser, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Some former soldiers, civil patrolmen and their relatives posted on Facebook, calling the trial a sham. Washington Post, 29 May 2019 But as anyone who’s ever made a drastic life change knows, the idea of a totally new you is a sham. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Apr. 2022 Iran’s elections, including the most recent presidential election, are mostly a sham. John Yoo, National Review, 30 Mar. 2022 Though BitMEX had ostensible controls designed to prevent U.S. customers from accessing the platform, Mr. Reed knew those controls were a sham, and BitMEX made substantial profits from U.S.-based trading, prosecutors said. Richard Vanderford, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2022 Washington imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil in 2019 and closed its embassy in Caracas after deeming Maduro’s election victory in 2018 to be a sham. Kevin Liptak, CNN, 8 Mar. 2022 Authorities asserted that Papini’s injuries were self-inflicted, her work with a sketch artist a time-wasting sham. Demian Bulwa, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Mar. 2022 Election officials, Democrats and some Republicans have called Gableman's work a sham that has undermined confidence in the election. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective To secure favorable tax treatment, the businessman, Sedrak Arustamyan, allegedly entered into two sham loan agreements with Khachatryan’s adult sons — the first loan in 2009 for $7 million and another in 2011 for $13.4 million. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 Prosecutors could also investigate the 16 phony Republican electors who cast ballots for Trump in a sham ceremony in December 2020. Tamar Hallerman, ajc, 2 May 2022 And in 2019, Trump infamously withheld nearly $400 million in military aid as part of his attempt to pressure Zelensky into announcing sham corruption investigations into Biden and his family's business dealings. Marshall Cohen, CNN, 26 Mar. 2022 Kyiv has repeatedly warned that Russian forces could hold a sham referendum in the city in a bid to legitimize its eventual annexation. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 Teryl Austin said the Lions conducted a sham interview with his client only to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 4 Feb. 2022 Flores also accused the Broncos for conducting a sham interview 2019, claiming both teams undercut the league's Rooney Rule. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 7 Apr. 2022 Teryl Austin said the Lions conducted a sham interview with his client only to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 4 Feb. 2022 Teryl Austin said the Lions conducted a sham interview with his client only to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule. Dave Birkett, USA TODAY, 3 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And local officials worry that Russia is going to hold some sham referendum to make its political occupation more permanent. NBC News, 13 Mar. 2022 Gonzales was not trying to overturn the election results through his lawsuit, but asserting that putting up sham candidates represented ballot fraud. Ray Long, chicagotribune.com, 4 Mar. 2022 Flores also contended that the Broncos and Giants conducted sham interviews, Denver’s in 2019 and New York’s during the current hiring cycle. oregonlive, 6 Feb. 2022 Political prisoners routinely face sham legal proceedings and coerced confessions in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News, 8 Feb. 2022 By August 2020, the group had applied for 151 loans to mainly sham businesses, some of them named after real ones. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2021 Fraudulent trades are sham transactions designed to create the appearance of activity or movement in the market. Jaime Catmull, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 Former employees had even sued Patriarch for claims ranging from breach of contract to sham transactions. Eliza Haverstock, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 The family fraud ring created sham businesses to get many of the loans, attaching fake payrolls and forged tax returns to the applications. Los Angeles Times, 6 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of sham

Noun

1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1702, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for sham

Noun

perhaps from English dialect sham shame, alteration of English shame

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Dictionary Entries Near sham

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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sham.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sham. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sham

sham

noun
\ ˈsham How to pronounce sham (audio) \

Kids Definition of sham

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : something that deceives : hoax
2 : something that is claimed to be true or real but which is actually phony
3 : a decorative covering for a pillow

sham

adjective

Kids Definition of sham (Entry 2 of 3)

: not real : false sham concern

sham

verb
shammed; shamming

Kids Definition of sham (Entry 3 of 3)

: to act in a deceiving way

sham

adjective
\ ˈsham How to pronounce sham (audio) \

Medical Definition of sham

: being a treatment or procedure that is performed as a control and that is similar to but omits a key therapeutic element of the treatment or procedure under investigation sham surgery, in which doctors make an incision in a patient's knee and manipulate the joint, but don't clean out fluid, debris, and torn cartilage— Liz Kowalczyk a sham injection of saline solution

sham

noun
\ ˈsham How to pronounce sham (audio) \

Legal Definition of sham

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is false, deceptive, misleading, or otherwise not genuine

sham

adjective

Legal Definition of sham (Entry 2 of 2)

: not genuine : intended to mislead or deceive : false, illusory the sale for one dollar was a sham transfer of property

More from Merriam-Webster on sham

Nglish: Translation of sham for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sham for Arabic Speakers

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