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

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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

Norm Miller, University of San Diego YES: For top football and basketball athletes bringing in millions, going to school is often a sham during the sports season. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Econometer: Should the NCAA change rules so athletes can profit?," 6 Sep. 2019 Opposition lawmakers believe his claim to be negotiating with the EU to be a sham. Rob Picheta, Ivana Kottasová And Nina Dos Santos, CNN, "Boris Johnson fails in high stakes attempt to call snap general election," 4 Sep. 2019 The national Democratic Party has all but called last year’s election of Alabama party officers a sham. al, "Gov. Ivey admitted wearing blackface. The Alabama Democratic Party said nothing," 4 Sep. 2019 Fortunately, most Jews easily see through this sham. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Trump’s attempt to divide Jewish voters is insulting," 23 Aug. 2019 But the vote was a sham: out of a population of some 800,000, the Indonesian army selected just 1,026 people to take part. The Economist, "Violent protests rack the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua," 24 Aug. 2019 Next, add on shams, which are pillows that are more decorative than functional and usually match the comforter. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make a Bed Like a Professional, According to Bedding Experts," 28 June 2019 Democrats have turned this important process into a political sham. Fox News, "Hannity: Democrats have turned SCOTUS process into a sham," 27 Sep. 2018 Duvet; sheets; tweed shams—Ralph Lauren Home (M); ralphlaurenhome.com. House Beautiful, "July/August 2012 Issue Product Guide," 1 June 2012

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

With seaweed extract as a main ingredient and a plant protein augmented by two other proprietary ingredients, the sham shrimp's biggest challenge was texture. Laura Reiley, Anchorage Daily News, "Tyson Foods launches alt-shrimp made from plants - and it could be jumbo," 6 Sep. 2019 With seaweed extract as a main ingredient and a plant protein augmented by two other proprietary ingredients, the sham shrimp's biggest challenge was texture. al, "Tyson launching plant-based shrimp alternative," 5 Sep. 2019 The report also recaps high-profile academic fraud scandals at North Carolina (where athletes were ushered into sham classes) and Syracuse (where advisers impersonated athletes in emails with professors and completed assignments for them). Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Sen. Chris Murphy slams NCAA for ‘lack of academic integrity’ in new report on college sports," 25 July 2019 Federal prosecutors said the donut shop was a front for a marijuana ring that laundered money through a sham dispensary that was located next door. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Armed bandits plant deadly bull's-eye on rural medical marijuana growers," 26 July 2019 Officials say the investigation found that the company was discharging their nursing home patients at sham unlicensed living facilities. baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore-area unlicensed assisted living facility operators charged with abusing vulnerable adults," 24 July 2019 But there was no such deception here in that the existence of the sham candidates was well publicized prior to Election Day. Eric Zorn, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Sham candidates are bad for democracy, but let’s not make a federal case of it," 19 July 2019 The lawsuit was the first time that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Federal Trade Commission joined together to shut down sham charities, the attorney general said. J. Edward Moreno, azcentral, "AG: $2.5M settlement against sham nonprofits to be distributed to actual cancer centers," 21 June 2019 By acquiring Anthony Davis and, as of Thursday, clearing the books to create enough money to sign a max-value player once the NBA’s sham free agency moratorium is lifted on Sunday, another super team is forming around LeBron James in Hollywood. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: The real issue the Lakers present to the Warriors this summer," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In one, some people shamed her for not driving an older car that was paid off. Janna Herron, USA TODAY, "Money trolls: Why are we so judgmental about other people's finances?," 6 Sep. 2019 The ethics of making a movie about weight loss Is making a movie about a woman who wants to lose weight tantamount to capitulating to fat-shaming culture? Sarah Todd, Quartzy, "Can you be body-positive and want to lose weight?," 4 Sep. 2019 This binge-and-restrict pattern is fundamentally detrimental to better health and long-term weight loss, and sets you up for a week, month, or even year of shaming yourself into no-good yo-yo dieting. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "How to Start Losing Weight With 6 Steps That Actually Work, According to a Nutritionist," 5 Dec. 2018 But black women are also shamed for decisions not to have children. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A shooting ended Marshae Jones’s pregnancy. Police say it’s her fault.," 27 June 2019 Since rising to superstardom after winning American Idol in 2005, the singer has been shamed for wearing makeup to a soccer game, criticized for her singing, and even accused of getting plastic surgery on her face. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood Just Shut Down an Internet Troll Who Criticized Her Son Isaiah," 27 Mar. 2019 Yet an odd, shaming script plays out when musicians in particular make their feelings known about matters of national importance. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Reason Musicians Speak Up About Mass Shootings," 7 Aug. 2019 Some 60 million voters who cast ballots for President Donald Trump in 2016 are once again being kicked to the margins of society and shamed as racists, all because of Trump’s idiotic thumbs on Twitter. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: Race card loses its sting as it’s overused," 29 July 2019 How To Shop Amazon Lightning Deals On Prime Day Lady Gaga's Makeup Line Is Ruling Amazon Prime Day The Kardashian/Jenners took Khloé’s side, of course: several of them, Kim Kardashian West included, publicly shamed Woods on social media. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, "Kylie Jenner Finally Speaks Out About Her Broken Friendship With Jordyn Woods," 15 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

Dictionary Entries near sham

shalosh seudoth

shalt

shaltie

sham

shama

shamal

shama millet

Statistics for sham

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sham

The first known use of sham was in 1677

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More Definitions for sham

sham

noun

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

sham

adjective

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

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

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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

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sham

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sham

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sham

Spanish Central: Translation of sham

Nglish: Translation of sham for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sham for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sham

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