false

1 of 2

adjective

falser; falsest
1
: not genuine
false documents
false teeth
2
a
: intentionally untrue
false testimony
b
: adjusted or made so as to deceive
false scales
a trunk with a false bottom
c
: intended or tending to mislead
a false promise
3
: not true
false concepts
4
a
: not faithful or loyal : treacherous
a false friend
b
: lacking naturalness or sincerity
false sympathy
5
a
: not essential or permanent
used of parts of a structure that are temporary or supplemental
b
: fitting over a main part to strengthen it, to protect it, or to disguise its appearance
a false ceiling
6
: inaccurate in pitch
a false note
7
a
: based on mistaken ideas
false pride
b
: inconsistent with the facts
a false position
a false sense of security
8
: threateningly sudden or deceptive
don't make any false moves
falsely adverb
falseness noun

false

2 of 2

adverb

: in a false or faithless manner : treacherously
his friends played him false
Choose the Right Synonym for false

faithless, false, disloyal, traitorous, treacherous, perfidious mean untrue to what should command one's fidelity or allegiance.

faithless applies to any failure to keep a promise or pledge or any breach of allegiance or loyalty.

faithless allies

false stresses the fact of failing to be true in any manner ranging from fickleness to cold treachery.

betrayed by false friends

disloyal implies a lack of complete faithfulness to a friend, cause, leader, or country.

disloyal to their country

traitorous implies either actual treason or a serious betrayal of trust.

traitorous acts punishable by death

treacherous implies readiness to betray trust or confidence.

a treacherous adviser

perfidious adds to faithless the implication of an incapacity for fidelity or reliability.

a perfidious double-crosser

Example Sentences

Adjective Indicate whether each of the following statements is true or false. He registered at the hotel under a false name.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Thirty-three women were hanged based on Malet’s testimony; the Spanish Inquisition eventually charged him with making false accusations and burned him at the stake in Barcelona in July 1549. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Dec. 2022 Critics say Castroville got played — a false pitting of one underserved community against another. Rosanna Xiastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 Benton was convicted in May 2016 of conspiracy and involvement in filing of false campaign finance reports - not long before the new scheme began. Rachel Weiner, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Nov. 2022 Benton was convicted in May 2016 of conspiracy and involvement in filing of false campaign finance reports — not long before the new scheme began. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2022 For instance, in April 2013, stocks plunged after a hacker accessed the main Twitter account for the Associated Press and tweeted about a false attack on the White House. Rachel Metz, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 In turn, this could provide a false sense of heart health with a CCS score of zero. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 17 Nov. 2022 One false move could be the end of so many promised dreams of financial freedom. Michael Peres, Rolling Stone, 17 Nov. 2022 Police also began cracking down on false reporting and the stalker clowns, as in a 2016 case in Kentucky. Adam Carlson, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2022
Adverb
Mitchell, of Canton, won the 2019 State Open 100-meter title after Miller false-started and was disqualified. Lori Riley, Hartford Courant, 29 Sep. 2022 Against the Buccaneers, the Cowboys offense false-started a league-worst four times. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2022 There’s false-toothed Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp in Impeachment: American Crime Story. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 23 Nov. 2021 With time winding down in a scoreless game, the Gladiators made the most of a penalty corner when two of the four Hereford defenders false-started, crossing the goal line before the ball was put in play. Rich Scherr, baltimoresun.com, 13 Nov. 2021 Browns offensive linemen false-started three times in the game — once by Wyatt Teller and twice by Joel Bitonio — and Stefanski vowed to correct it. cleveland, 4 Jan. 2021 The 49ers’ chances to keep the game close fizzled late when a touchdown was overturned, and Nick Mullens false-started on a sneak at the goal line and then threw an interception. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, 7 Dec. 2020 The drive started with left tackle Charles Leno false-starting. Star Tribune, 10 Nov. 2020 Alabama coach Nick Saban said Saturday the school conducted 240 tests of its football players and none came positive after his potentially false-positive COVID-19 test Wednesday. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, 17 Oct. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'false.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Adverb

Middle English fals, faus, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin falsus, from past participle of fallere to deceive

First Known Use

Adjective

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of false was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near false

Cite this Entry

“False.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/false. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

false

adjective

ˈfȯls
falser; falsest
1
: not genuine
false documents
false teeth
2
a
: intentionally untrue
false testimony
b
: intended or tending to mislead
false promise
3
: not true : incorrect
false information
4
: not faithful or loyal : treacherous
5
: not necessary to structure
a false ceiling
6
: inaccurate in pitch
a false note
7
: based on mistaken ideas
false pride
falsely adverb
falseness noun

Medical Definition

falser; falsest
1
: not corresponding to truth or reality
a test for HIV which gave false results
2
: artificially made
false teeth
3
: of a kind related to or resembling another kind that is usually designated by the unqualified vernacular
false oats
falsely adverb
falseness noun

Legal Definition

false

adjective

1
: not genuine, authentic, or legitimate compare counterfeit
2
a
: not true or correct
especially : intentionally or knowingly untrue or incorrect
injured by false accusations
b
: intended to mislead or deceive : deceptive, misleading compare fraudulent
falsely adverb
falseness noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ