1 : to give a false appearance of : to induce as a false impression
2 : to assert as if true : pretend
Did You Know?
Feign is all about faking it, but that hasn't always been so. In one of its earliest senses, feign meant "to fashion, form, or shape." That meaning is true to the term's Latin ancestor: the verb fingere, which also means "to shape." The current senses of feign still retain the essence of the Latin source, since to feign something, such as surprise or an illness, requires one to fashion an impression or shape an image. Several other English words that trace to the same ancestor refer to things that are shaped with either the hands, as in figure and effigy, or the imagination, as in fiction and figment.
"If a predator approaches the nest, the parent feigns a broken wing, often leading the predator far from the nest before bursting into flight, the injured wing suddenly fully functional." — Jan Bergstrom, The St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times, 7 May 2016
"The local high school … wasn't of particularly high quality, and I was not intellectually stimulated or motivated there. In fact, I became disinterested, started skipping class and feigning illness to avoid going to school." — Brian Calle, The Orange County (California) Register, 8 May 2016
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