false front


a façade falsifying the size, finish, or importance of a building, especially one having a humble purpose or cheap construction.
any deceptive appearance: He hid his great shyness behind a false front of aggressiveness.

Origin of false front

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for false front

  • The next day they ran up a false-front with a tower at either side.

  • Red Oak slept all day behind the drab, sun-bleached, false-front buildings on both sides of the only road.

  • The schools, farms, grain elevators, and false-front business buildings are common to the entire Midwest.

    North Dakota|Various