Synonyms & Antonyms of sham

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 being such in appearance only and made with or manufactured from usually cheaper materials
  • a sofa upholstered in sham leather

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2 being such in appearance only and made or manufactured with the intention of committing fraud
  • street vendors selling sham designer handbags to gullible tourists

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Synonyms & Antonyms of sham (Entry 2 of 3)

1 a poor, insincere, or insulting imitation of something
  • condemned the rigged election as a total sham

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2 an imitation that is passed off as genuine
  • the diamond turned out to be a sham

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3 one who makes false claims of identity or expertise
  • that supposed French movie star was a sham

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Synonyms of sham (Entry 3 of 3)

to present a false appearance of
  • shammed a most unconvincing limp just to get sympathy

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About sham

How is the word sham different from other nouns like it?

Some common synonyms of sham are counterfeit, fake, fraud, humbug, and imposture. While all these words mean "a thing made to seem other than it is," sham applies to fraudulent imitation of a real thing or action.

condemned the election as a sham

Where would counterfeit be a reasonable alternative to sham?

In some situations, the words counterfeit and sham are roughly equivalent. However, counterfeit applies especially to the close imitation of something valuable.

20-dollar bills that were counterfeits

When could fake be used to replace sham?

The meanings of fake and sham largely overlap; however, 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

In what contexts can fraud take the place of sham?

While the synonyms fraud and sham are close in meaning, fraud usually implies a deliberate perversion of the truth.

the diary was exposed as a fraud

When is it sensible to use humbug instead of sham?

Although the words humbug and sham have much in common, humbug suggests elaborate pretense usually so flagrant as to be transparent.

creating publicity by foisting humbugs on a gullible public

When might imposture be a better fit than sham?

The words imposture and sham can be used in similar contexts, but 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

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Time Traveler for sham

Time Traveler

The first known use of sham was in 1677

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Cite this Entry

“Sham.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sham

Dictionary: Definition of sham

Medical Dictionary: Definition of sham

Nglish: Translation of sham for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sham for Arabic Speakers

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