Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of fake

First recorded in 1805–15; originally vagrants' slang: “to do for, rob, kill (someone), shape (something)”; perhaps variant of obsolete feak, feague “to beat,” akin to Dutch veeg “a slap,” vegen “to sweep, wipe”

Other definitions for fake (2 of 2)

[ feyk ]
/ feɪk /

verb (used with object), faked, fak·ing.
to lay (a rope) in a coil or series of long loops so as to allow to run freely without fouling or kinking (often followed by down).
any complete turn of a rope that has been faked down.
any of the various ways in which a rope may be faked down.
Also flake .

Origin of fake

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English faken “to coil (a rope),” of obscure origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of fake?

Fake describes something as not being real or as being an imitation that is designed to trick someone into thinking it is real or original. Fake also refers to a forgery or copy and is used to mean to pretend. Fake has several other senses as a noun and a verb.

If something is fake, it resembles something else but isn’t exactly the same. For example, a diamond is made from pressurized carbon over thousands of years. A fake diamond might have been made from glass in five minutes.

Most of the time, fake things are designed to be nearly identical to the original in order to trick or cheat someone. But not always. A resort might make fake snow out of crushed ice so it can offer skiing or snowboarding when it hasn’t snowed. The key is whether something is acknowledged or labelled as fake. Lying to customers by claiming that fake items are real is considered fraud and is against the law.

  • Real-life examples: Con artists often swindle people by selling fake jewelry, watches, antiques, and other cheap copies of expensive things. A person might wear fake nails or fake eyelashes. An indoor sports stadium may use fake grass.
  • Used in a sentence: I make fake swords to be used in movies. 

In this same sense, fake is used as a noun to mean a copy or fabrication.

  • Used in a sentence: The car expert could easily tell if the sports car was a real Bugatti or a fake. 

Also in this sense, fake is used as a verb to mean to make something that isn’t real or is a copy.

  • Used in a sentence: He faked hundreds of Roman coins before the authorities caught on to his scam.

As a verb, fake can also mean to pretend or to simulate something.

  • Used in a sentence: I faked illness so I could stay home from school. 

Where does fake come from?

The first records of fake come from around 1805. It was originally a term from thieves’ slang meaning “to mug someone” or “to kill someone.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to fake?

What are some synonyms for fake?

What are some words that share a root or word element with fake

What are some words that often get used in discussing fake?

How is fake used in real life?

Fake is a very common word that describes something as not being genuine.

Try using fake!

Which of the following words is a synonym of fake?

A. real
B. genuine
C. imitation
D. legitimate

How to use fake in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fake (1 of 2)

/ (feɪk) /

(tr) to cause (something inferior or not genuine) to appear more valuable, desirable, or real by fraud or pretence
to pretend to have (an illness, emotion, etc)to fake a headache
to improvise (music, stage dialogue, etc)
an object, person, or act that is not genuine; sham, counterfeit, or forgery
not genuine; spurious

Derived forms of fake

faker, nounfakery, noun

Word Origin for fake

originally (C18) thieves' slang to mug or do someone; probably via Polari from Italian facciare to make or do

British Dictionary definitions for fake (2 of 2)

/ (feɪk) nautical /

(tr usually foll by down) to coil (a rope) on deck
one round of a coil of rope

Word Origin for fake

Middle English faken, perhaps via Lingua Franca from Italian facciare to make or do; see fake 1
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