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[feyn] /feɪn/
verb (used with object)
to represent fictitiously; put on an appearance of:
to feign sickness.
to invent fictitiously or deceptively, as a story or an excuse.
to imitate deceptively:
to feign another's voice.
verb (used without object)
to make believe; pretend:
She's only feigning, she isn't really ill.
Origin of feign
1250-1300; Middle English fei(g)nen < Old French feign-, present stem of feindre < Latin fingere to shape, invent, feign
Related forms
feigner, noun
feigningly, adverb
unfeigning, adjective
unfeigningly, adverb
Can be confused
fain, faint, feign, feint. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for feigning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He lay still and silent, however, feigning death, for to have discovered himself would have resulted in his instant despatch.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • The quality for which he is chiefly noted is his habit of feigning death.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • At last I made up my mind, and feigning indisposition I left them sitting at the table—where they perhaps still are.

    The Memoirs of Madame Vige Lebrun Marie Louise Elisabeth Vige-Lebrun
  • During a better spell the Master said, Yu has long been feigning.

  • And feigning sleep he listened, determined to hear the worst that could be said of him.

    The Brook Kerith George Moore
British Dictionary definitions for feigning


to put on a show of (a quality or emotion); pretend: to feign innocence
(transitive) to make up; invent: to feign an excuse
(transitive) to copy; imitate: to feign someone's laugh
Derived Forms
feigner, noun
feigningly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French feindre to pretend, from Latin fingere to form, shape, invent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for feigning



c.1300, from Old French feign-, present participle stem of feindre "pretend, represent, imitate, shirk" (12c.), from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (see fiction). Related: Feigned; feigning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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