feign

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb feign contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of feign are affect, assume, counterfeit, pretend, sham, and simulate. While all these words mean "to put on a false or deceptive appearance," feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate.

feigned sickness

When can affect be used instead of feign?

The meanings of affect and feign largely overlap; however, affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling.

affected an interest in art

When is assume a more appropriate choice than feign?

In some situations, the words assume and feign are roughly equivalent. However, assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive.

assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients

When could counterfeit be used to replace feign?

The words counterfeit and feign can be used in similar contexts, but counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words.

an actor counterfeiting drunkenness

When might pretend be a better fit than feign?

The synonyms pretend and feign are sometimes interchangeable, but pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance.

pretended that nothing had happened

When is it sensible to use sham instead of feign?

Although the words sham and feign have much in common, sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible.

shammed a most unconvincing limp

When would simulate be a good substitute for feign?

While the synonyms simulate and feign are close in meaning, simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something.

cosmetics that simulate a suntan

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Cite this Entry

“Feign.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/feign. Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

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