a movement made in order to deceive an adversary; an attack aimed at one place or point merely as a distraction from the real place or point of attack: military feints; the feints of a skilled fencer.
a feigned or assumed appearance: His air of approval was a feint to conceal his real motives.

verb (used without object)

to make a feint.

verb (used with object)

to make a feint at; deceive with a feint.
to make a false show of; simulate.

Origin of feint

1275–1325; Middle English < Old French feinte, noun use of feminine of feint pretended, past participle of feindre to feign
Can be confusedfain faint feign feint



plural noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for feint

Contemporary Examples of feint

  • Netanyahu had no choice but to at least feint in this direction.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bibi's Bait-and-Switch

    Eric Alterman

    June 14, 2009

Historical Examples of feint

  • She made a feint of accepting the herb, and then pointed to him and to the road.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • And yet it was ministered to, in a dull and abortive manner, by all who made this feint.

  • He made a feint, as if he were about to strike his pike between its eyes.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • "Forgive me if I have stayed too long," she said, making a feint of opening the door.

  • That which should have been the real attack shall be no more than a feint.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for feint




a mock attack or movement designed to distract an adversary, as in a military manoeuvre or in boxing, fencing, etc
a misleading action or appearance


(intr) to make a feint

Word Origin for feint

C17: from French feinte, from feint pretended, from Old French feindre to feign




printing the narrowest rule used in the production of ruled paper

Word Origin for feint

C19: variant of faint



pl n

the leavings of the second distillation of Scotch malt whisky
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 feint

1670s, "a false show, a pretended blow," from French feinte "a feint, sham," abstract noun from Old French feint (13c.) "false, deceitful," originally fem. past participle of feindre (see feign).

Borrowed late 13c. as adjective, but now obsolete in that sense. Also as a noun in Middle English with sense "false-heartedness" (early 14c.), also "bodily weakness" (c.1400).


c.1300, feinten, "to deceive, pretend," also "become feeble or exhausted; to lack spirit or courage," from feint (adj.); see feint (n.). Cf. Old French feintir "be slow, delay." Sense of "to make a sham attack" is first attested 1833. Related: Feinted; feinting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper