View synonyms for feign


[ feyn ]

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.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make believe; pretend:

    She's only feigning, she isn't really ill.


/ feɪn /


  1. to put on a show of (a quality or emotion); pretend

    to feign innocence

  2. tr to make up; invent

    to feign an excuse

  3. tr to copy; imitate

    to feign someone's laugh

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Derived Forms

  • ˈfeigningly, adverb
  • ˈfeigner, noun

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Other Words From

  • feign·er noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of feign1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English fei(g)nen, from Old French feign-, present stem of faindre, feindre, from Latin fingere “to feign, invent, shape”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of feign1

C13: from Old French feindre to pretend, from Latin fingere to form, shape, invent

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Synonym Study

See pretend.

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Example Sentences

The tales of my regifting are so legendary that it’s become a tradition for my children, now in their 20s, to feign outrage as they recall how old they were when they discovered my holiday ruse.

A centrist stance I'll feign, The conclusion is foregone I'll go and side with Mitch McConnell And I'll con the folks in Maine.

As hundreds flooded into the colony taking up lands all along the James River Valley, he feigned friendship with the newcomers, biding his time for the right moment to put his plan into action.

From Time

People who have psychologically mediated physical symptoms always fear being accused of feigning illness.

The channel’s most popular video to date, an eight-minute clip titled “Oregon Long Run” that currently has over 300,000 views, begins with Teare feigning indignation at the unorthodox way his fellow speedster Evert Silva eats Kit Kats.

They cannot feign ignorance at the end of a journey that was ugly all along.

Give us a moment to feign excitement...TVLine Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy went trick-or-treating together.

And you have to possess a certain amount of humility—or at least try to feign it from time to time.

But anyone who can feign a relationship for 40 days can surely do it for one meal.

I could likely feign my way through a short story—a very short story—in Farsi.

Skilled physicians feign indifference to their calling that they may smack of the kennel and the hunting-field.

She answered coldly that she could not feign; indifferent she was to everything on earth, indifferent she always should be.

Knoblock's sincere indignation wins, and the secretary backs away from the bedroom as I plunge under the covers and feign sleep.

Something prompted Jack to lie still and feign sleep, while he kept his gaze on the man, who was looking fixedly at him.

In addition to the bedtime story, Peter found it necessary to feign great weariness in order to suggest a similar feeling in Pat.