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verb (used with object)
  1. to represent fictitiously; put on an appearance of: to feign sickness.
  2. to invent fictitiously or deceptively, as a story or an excuse.
  3. to imitate deceptively: to feign another's voice.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to make believe; pretend: She's only feigning, she isn't really ill.
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Origin of feign

1250–1300; Middle English fei(g)nen < Old French feign-, present stem of feindre < Latin fingere to shape, invent, feign
Related formsfeign·er, nounfeign·ing·ly, adverbun·feign·ing, adjectiveun·feign·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedfain faint feign feint

Synonyms for feign

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4. See pretend.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for feign

play, dissimulate, bluff, assume, invent, fake, stonewall, fabricate, devise, imagine, dissemble, simulate, act, forge, affect, imitate, counterfeit, sham, four-flush

Examples from the Web for feign

Contemporary Examples of feign

Historical Examples of feign

British Dictionary definitions for feign


  1. to put on a show of (a quality or emotion); pretendto feign innocence
  2. (tr) to make up; inventto feign an excuse
  3. (tr) to copy; imitateto feign someone's laugh
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Derived Formsfeigner, nounfeigningly, adverb

Word Origin for feign

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

Word Origin and History for feign


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper