See more synonyms for false on Thesaurus.com
adjective, fals·er, fals·est.
  1. not true or correct; erroneous: a false statement.
  2. uttering or declaring what is untrue: a false witness.
  3. not faithful or loyal; treacherous: a false friend.
  4. tending to deceive or mislead; deceptive: a false impression.
  5. not genuine; counterfeit.
  6. based on mistaken, erroneous, or inconsistent impressions, ideas, or facts: false pride.
  7. used as a substitute or supplement, especially temporarily: false supports for a bridge.
  8. Biology. having a superficial resemblance to something that properly bears the name: the false acacia.
  9. not properly, accurately, or honestly made, done, or adjusted: a false balance.
  10. inaccurate in pitch, as a musical note.
  1. dishonestly; faithlessly; treacherously: Did he speak false against me?
  1. play someone false, to betray someone; be treacherous or faithless.

Origin of false

before 1000; Middle English, Old English fals < Latin falsus feigned, false, orig. past participle of fallere to deceive; reinforced by or reborrowed from Anglo-French, Old French fals, feminine false < Latin
Related formsfalse·ly, adverbfalse·ness, nounhalf-false, adjectivequa·si-false, adjectivequa·si-false·ly, adverb

Synonyms for false

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. mistaken, incorrect, wrong, untrue. 2. untruthful, lying, mendacious. 3. insincere, hypocritical, disingenuous, disloyal, unfaithful, inconstant, perfidious, traitorous. 4. misleading, fallacious. 5. artificial, spurious, bogus, forged. False, sham, counterfeit agree in referring to something that is not genuine. False is used mainly of imitations of concrete objects; it sometimes implies an intent to deceive: false teeth; false hair. Sham is rarely used of concrete objects and usually has the suggestion of intent to deceive: sham title; sham tears. Counterfeit always has the implication of cheating; it is used particularly of spurious imitation of coins, paper money, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for falsely

Contemporary Examples of falsely

Historical Examples of falsely

  • It would grieve me too deeply if you were to speak to me falsely again.

  • The sanctity of human life is the canting cry of the falsely sentimental.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • My dear friend, how falsely do we and all the Hellenes speak about the sun and moon!



  • By praising you falsely or by persuading you to try to be a good man?

  • And when it is all done, effectively, falsely—what is there?

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

British Dictionary definitions for falsely


  1. not in accordance with the truth or facts
  2. irregular or invalida false start
  3. untruthful or lyinga false account
  4. not genuine, real, or natural; artificial; fakefalse eyelashes
  5. being or intended to be misleading or deceptivea false rumour
  6. disloyal or treacherousa false friend
  7. based on mistaken or irrelevant ideas or factsfalse pride; a false argument
  8. (prenominal) (esp of plants) superficially resembling the species specifiedfalse hellebore
  9. serving to supplement or replace, often temporarilya false keel
  10. music
    1. (of a note, interval, etc) out of tune
    2. (of the interval of a perfect fourth or fifth) decreased by a semitone
    3. (of a cadence) interrupted or imperfect
  1. in a false or dishonest manner (esp in the phrase play (someone) false)
Derived Formsfalsely, adverbfalseness, noun

Word Origin for false

Old English fals, from Latin falsus, from fallere to deceive
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

Word Origin and History for falsely



late 12c., from Old French fals, faus (12c., Modern French faux) "false, fake, incorrect, mistaken, treacherous, deceitful," from Latin falsus "deceived, erroneous, mistaken," past participle of fallere "deceive, disappoint," of uncertain origin (see fail).

Adopted into other Germanic languages (cf. German falsch, Dutch valsch, Danish falsk), though English is the only one in which the active sense of "deceitful" (a secondary sense in Latin) has predominated. False alarm recorded from 1570s. Related: Falsely; falseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with falsely


In addition to the idioms beginning with false

  • false alarm
  • false colors
  • false start
  • false step

also see:

  • lull into (false sense of security)
  • play false
  • ring false
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.