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

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

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Other Words from sham

Verb

shammer \ ˈsha-​mər How to pronounce shammer (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Holding a vote would undercut a key GOP talking point against the inquiry — that Democrats are conducting a sham, partisan inquiry that gives Republicans little right to participate. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Pelosi considers, then rejects holding a House vote on impeachment inquiry -- for now," 15 Oct. 2019 The government said the charity was really a sham, set up by Iacobelli and Holifield, who died in 2015. Cindy Burton, Detroit Free Press, "UAW corruption scandal hangs over contract talks: Here's the latest," 16 Sep. 2019 The company was a sham, set up temporarily to fleece college students out of their savings. WSJ, "The Best Financial Advice I Ever Got," 16 June 2019 Calipari’s early embrace of one-year players, once widely seen as a sham undermining the credibility of college basketball, has since been grudgingly accepted as the new normal and the UK coach as ahead of the curve. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "For better or worse, the Kentucky-Louisville basketball rivalry is growing more civilized," 28 Dec. 2019 This impeachment is not just ridiculous on the merits, the very process Chairman Nadler & Speaker Pelosi are running is a sham. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, "House votes to impeach President Donald Trump," 19 Dec. 2019 This is a travishamockery - a travesty of a sham and a mockery. Fox News, "Gutfeld: It's the cry babies vs. the jerk," 8 Sep. 2018 Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned on November 10 amid widespread popular protests following an October 20 election, which many considered a sham and constitutionally dubious. Fox News, "Bolivia change of power polarizes Western hemisphere along 'tired, ideological lines'," 17 Nov. 2019 Many Republicans have attacked the impeachment inquiry as a sham. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Gordon Sondland, who flaunted Trump access, may offer first-hand account of Trump's Ukraine aims," 17 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Tessier-Lavigne said Stanford is moving to redistribute $770,000 given to the Stanford sailing program in the form of three gifts from Singer's sham charity, Key Worldwide Foundation. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Stanford says admissions scam mastermind tried to recruit 7 coaches," 4 Dec. 2019 He was accused of paying $400,000 to a sham charity operated by Singer in 2016. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Father gets 4 months for bribing son’s way into Georgetown," 26 Sep. 2019 Two days later, Sui allegedly wired that $100,000 to a bank account connected to Key Worldwide Foundation, Singer’s sham charity. Patrick Perron, The Mercury News, "Chinese parent accused of paying bribes to get her son into UCLA arrested in Spain," 17 Sep. 2019 But most opposition candidates would be banned from running, leading to fears that the vote would be a sham election used to consolidate his power. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s lawyer and the Venezuelan president: How Giuliani got involved in back-channel talks with Maduro," 29 Dec. 2019 But most opposition candidates would be banned from running, leading to fears that the vote would be a sham election used to consolidate his power. Washington Post, "Trump’s lawyer and the Venezuelan president: How Giuliani got involved in back-channel talks with Maduro," 29 Dec. 2019 That is true, but the previous, sham elections set an extremely low bar and the absence of any opposition parties remains a glaring flaw. The Economist, "Uzbekistan holds a semi-serious election," 18 Dec. 2019 People accuse us at the Deep State D.M.V. of maintaining our power by orchestrating everything from sham road tests to bus-driver assassinations. Cora Frazier, The New Yorker, "Deep State D.M.V.," 2 Dec. 2019 This was, in many ways, Karlan’s central argument: that the right of Americans citizens to take part in fair elections is threatened and robbed when the President cuts deals with other governments to engage in sham investigations. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "What the Law Professors Brought to the Trump Impeachment Hearings," 5 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One possibility is that FDA and NIH will be shamed into enforcing the law. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "FDA and NIH let clinical trial sponsors keep results secret and break the law," 13 Jan. 2020 Talking with her about your own feelings (without shaming or blaming) will help to clear the air. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Adult child weary of mother’s constant guilt trips," 5 Jan. 2020 Talking with her about your own feelings (without shaming or blaming) will help to clear the air. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Adult child packs bags for guilt trip," 5 Jan. 2020 Richard Jewell > The Irishman Clint Eastwood’s account of an actual American tragedy (initiated by irresponsible media and rogue government) shames Scorsese’s distorted labor-union history. Armond White, National Review, "The 15th Annual Better-Than List," 3 Jan. 2020 The one-liner is not always about publicly shaming actual baby boomers, i.e. Americans born between the years of 1944 and 1964. Brianna Holt, Quartz, "The catchphrase of 2019 has a glaring blindspot," 26 Dec. 2019 Aquaman has issued an apology to Star-Lord over that bit of water bottle shaming on social media. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Jason Momoa apologizes to Chris Pratt after shaming plastic water bottle use," 4 Dec. 2019 Why should children be shamed for their mother’s stress during pregnancy? Bill Sullivan, The Conversation, "Why Bill Maher is wrong about fat-shaming," 17 Sep. 2019 Instead of shaming people—stigma being a doubtful deterrent—the most effective solution is getting them into treatment, Cantor said. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "There’s a global movement of Facebook vigilantes who hunt pedophiles," 24 July 2019

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.

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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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Learn More about sham

Statistics for sham

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sham.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sham. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sham

sham

noun
How to pronounce sham (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sham

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: something that is not what it appears to be and that is meant to trick or deceive people
: someone who deceives people by pretending to be a particular kind of person, to have a particular skill, etc.
: words or actions that are not sincere or honest

English Language Learners Definition of sham (Entry 2 of 3)

: not real

sham

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sham (Entry 3 of 3)

: to act in a way that is meant to trick or deceive people

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

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
\ 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

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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

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sham

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sham

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sham

Spanish Central: Translation of sham

Nglish: Translation of sham for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sham for Arabic Speakers

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