- something that is not what it purports to be; a spurious imitation; fraud or hoax.
- a person who shams; shammer.
- a cover or the like for giving a thing a different outward appearance: a pillow sham.
- pretended; counterfeit; feigned: sham attacks; a sham Gothic façade.
- designed, made, or used as a sham.
- to produce an imitation of.
- to assume the appearance of; pretend to have: to sham illness.
- to make a false show of something; pretend.
Origin of sham
SynonymsSee more synonyms for sham on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sham
Also in 1997, Hayes entered a sham marriage with a Nigerian immigrant, for which she was paid $5,000.
Then came the admission of a sham marriage with an immigrant.
But for the literalists who simply must know, who must look behind the curtain, who must see if Oz is real or a sham?Holy Homophobia, Batman! A Queer Reading of the Dark Knight
July 26, 2014
As the pyramid grew, the teen struggled to manage his responsibilities at home, in school and with his sham company.He Bullies Kids and Calls It News
June 26, 2014
The protest and legal action had been a sham, Mrs. Kasem said.Casey Kasem's Family's Top 40 Meltdown Moments
June 3, 2014
But women must beware of sham emotion and lachrymose sentimentality.The Truth About Woman
C. Gasquoine Hartley
Will this country ever escape the tutorship of sham science?Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863
And whether the one or the other, it is a sham more pernicious than the worst.The Book of Khalid
It is only sham battles that cost something less than blood.Things as They Are
It is a veritable 'sham,' having no relation to fact, or to truth of any kind.Phaedrus
- anything that is not what it purports or appears to be
- something false, fake, or fictitious that purports to be genuine
- a person who pretends to be something other than he is
- counterfeit or false; simulated
- to falsely assume the appearance of (something); counterfeitto sham illness
Word Origin and History for sham
1670s, "a trick, a hoax, a fraud," also as a verb and an adjective, of uncertain origin; the words burst into use in 1677. Perhaps from sham, a northern dialectal variant of shame (n.); a derivation OED finds "not impossible." Sense of "something meant to be mistaken for something else" is from 1728. The meaning "false front" in pillow-sham (1721) is from the notion of "counterfeit." Related: Shammed; shamming; shammer. Shamateur "amateur sportsman who acts like a professional" is from 1896.