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From Middle English feynen, feinen[1], borrowed from Old French feindre (to pretend), from Latin fingere (to form, shape, invent). Compare French feignant (present participle of feindre, literally feigning). Also compare feint.



feign (third-person singular simple present feigns, present participle feigning, simple past and past participle feigned)

  1. To make a false show or pretence of; to counterfeit or simulate.
    The pupil feigned sickness on the day of his exam.
    They feigned her signature on the cheque.
  2. To imagine; to invent; to pretend.
    He feigned that he had gone home at the appointed time.
  3. To make an action as if doing one thing, but actually doing another, for example to trick an opponent.
    • 2013, Daniel Taylor, Rickie Lambert's debut goal gives England victory over Scotland (in The Guardian, 14 August 2013)[1]
      Cahill was beaten far too easily for Miller's goal, although the striker deserves the credit for the way he controlled Alan Hutton's right-wing delivery, with his back to goal, feigned to his left then went the other way and pinged a splendid left-foot shot into Hart's bottom right-hand corner.
  4. To hide or conceal.
    Jessica feigned the fact that she had not done her homework.


Derived termsEdit



  1. ^ feign” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.