something intended to deceive or defraud: The Piltdown man was a scientific hoax.

verb (used with object)

to deceive by a hoax; hoodwink.

Nearby words

  1. hoary marmot,
  2. hoary-headed,
  3. hoast,
  4. hoatching,
  5. hoatzin,
  6. hob,
  7. hoban,
  8. hoban, james,
  9. hobart,
  10. hobart, garret augustus

Origin of hoax

First recorded in 1790–1800; perhaps contraction of hocus

Related formshoax·er, nounun·hoaxed, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for hoax

British Dictionary definitions for hoax



a deception, esp a practical joke


(tr) to deceive or play a joke on (someone)
Derived Formshoaxer, noun

Word Origin for hoax

C18: probably from hocus

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 hoax


1796 (v.), 1808 (n.), probably an alteration of hocus "conjurer, juggler" (1630s), or directly from hocus-pocus. Related: Hoaxed; hoaxing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper