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[feyn] /feɪn/
verb (used with object)
to represent fictitiously; put on an appearance of:
to feign sickness.
to invent fictitiously or deceptively, as a story or an excuse.
to imitate deceptively:
to feign another's voice.
verb (used without object)
to make believe; pretend:
She's only feigning, she isn't really ill.
Origin of feign
1250-1300; Middle English fei(g)nen < Old French feign-, present stem of feindre < Latin fingere to shape, invent, feign
Related forms
feigner, noun
feigningly, adverb
unfeigning, adjective
unfeigningly, adverb
Can be confused
fain, faint, feign, feint.
4. See pretend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for feigning
  • They yelled at her, hoping that their anger would stop her from feigning illness.
  • All of us, that is, except the sanctimonious vigilante feigning moral outrage over this.
  • Politicians could spend less time feigning admiration for babies and more time governing.
  • feigning sleep as soon as you strap yourself in also works, but can be a problem if you'd planned to work, read or eat.
  • There is no excuse for using this sort of language and then feigning innocence.
  • Children, who had always figured largely in the felony of the age, made a profession of feigning the symptoms of the bewitched.
  • Bly researched the story by feigning insanity and having herself committed for ten days.
  • In actuality, healthy individuals feigning pain for secondary gain purposes are relatively rare.
British Dictionary definitions for feigning


to put on a show of (a quality or emotion); pretend: to feign innocence
(transitive) to make up; invent: to feign an excuse
(transitive) to copy; imitate: to feign someone's laugh
Derived Forms
feigner, noun
feigningly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French feindre to pretend, from Latin fingere to form, shape, invent
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
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Word Origin and History for feigning



c.1300, from Old French feign-, present participle stem of feindre "pretend, represent, imitate, shirk" (12c.), from Latin fingere "to touch, handle; devise; fabricate, alter, change" (see fiction). Related: Feigned; feigning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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