[ sham ]
See synonyms for sham on
  1. something that is not what it purports to be; a spurious imitation; fraud or hoax.

  2. a person who shams; shammer.

  1. a cover or the like for giving a thing a different outward appearance: a pillow sham.

  1. pretended; counterfeit; feigned: sham attacks; a sham Gothic façade.

  2. designed, made, or used as a sham.

verb (used with object),shammed, sham·ming.
  1. to produce an imitation of.

  2. to assume the appearance of; pretend to have: to sham illness.

verb (used without object),shammed, sham·ming.
  1. to make a false show of something; pretend.

Origin of sham

First recorded in 1670–80; perhaps an alteration of shame; origin uncertain

synonym study For sham

4. See false.

Other words for sham

Opposites for sham

Other words from sham

  • un·shammed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sham in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sham


/ (ʃæm) /

  1. anything that is not what it purports or appears to be

  2. something false, fake, or fictitious that purports to be genuine

  1. a person who pretends to be something other than he is

  1. counterfeit or false; simulated

verbshams, shamming or shammed
  1. to falsely assume the appearance of (something); counterfeit: to sham illness

Origin of sham

C17: perhaps a Northern English dialect variant of shame

Derived forms of sham

  • shammer, noun

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