from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To give a false appearance of: feign sleep.
  • transitive v. To represent falsely; pretend to: feign authorship of a novel.
  • transitive v. To imitate so as to deceive: feign another's voice.
  • transitive v. To fabricate: feigned an excuse.
  • transitive v. Archaic To invent or imagine.
  • intransitive v. To pretend; dissemble.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To represent by a false appearance of; to pretend; to counterfeit.
  • v. To give a mental existence to something that is not real or actual; to imagine; to invent; to pretend; to form and relate as if true.
  • v. To dissemble; to conceal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To give a mental existence to, as to something not real or actual; to imagine; to invent; hence, to pretend; to form and relate as if true.
  • transitive v. To represent by a false appearance of; to pretend; to counterfeit.
  • transitive v. To dissemble; to conceal.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To invent or imagine; utter, relate, or represent falsely or deceitfully.
  • To make a false appearance of; counterfeit; simulate; pretend: as, to feign death.
  • To dissemble; disguise; conceal.
  • Reflexively, to show a sudden weakness; become weak or faint.
  • Synonyms To affect, simulate, profess.
  • To make believe; practise dissimulation or false representation; dissemble.
  • To sing with a low voice.
  • n. Dissimulation; deception; falsehood.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make a pretence of
  • v. make believe with the intent to deceive


Middle English feinen, from Old French feindre, from Latin fingere, to shape, form; see dheigh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French feindre ("to pretend"), from Latin fingere ("to form, shape, invent"). (Wiktionary)


  • But there is a certain romantic senseless kind of love, such as poets sometimes celebrate, and men and women feign, which is a legitimate target for ridicule.

    The Magnificent Montez From Courtesan to Convert

  • To them, therefore, I had to feign feigning: I had to feign, that is, that I was feigning to keep their confidence, but that in reality that I was betraying it; while to Mr. Chiffinch I had to disclose these precious secrets not as true but as false, and conjecture with him what was the truth.


  • Foerster reported that employers often described the Italian worker as “lazy, shirking, tricky, a time server” and complained that Italians were known—just as slaves were once known—to “feign sickness in order not to have to work in bad weather.”

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • She grew excited as she developed the plan, and with my heart sinking I had to feign unbounded gladness and enthusiasm at this solution of my difficulties.


  • I tried my best, -- I thought I could do better, -- but I cannot feign what I do not feel.

    CHAPTER 21

  • It was almost a prayer, but a prayer that included a thousand meanings Daylight strove to feign sheepishness, but his heart was singing too wild a song for mere playfulness.

    Chapter XXIV

  • But when he turned him around and started forward, Bob proceeded to feign fright at trees, cows, bushes, Wolf, his own shadow -- in short, at every ridiculously conceivable object.

    Chapter XI

  • Or he might rise up slowly and carelessly, and feign casually to discover the thing that breathed at his back.

    All Gold Canon

  • To cut a prolonged story short, Lois tries to appreciate Clark for saving her, Clark den! ies, as well as a feign phone call from Chloe masquerading as a Blur throws Lois into utter confusion once again.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • On the subsequent play, the Nova reserve would bite upon the run feign right, as great as slip trying to recover, though would remove containment to Kackert as he would measure starting around the left finish from twelve yards out t!

    The CAA Today: Road Warriors


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  • This word was on my Word Of The Day app on my Nook Color once.

    July 24, 2012

  • Lady Sneerwell. The paragraphs, you say, Mr. Snake, were all inserted?
    Snake. They were, madam; and, as I copied them myself in a feigned hand, there can be no suspicion whence they came.

    Sheridan, School for Scandal

    January 5, 2008