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false front

a façade falsifying the size, finish, or importance of a building, especially one having a humble purpose or cheap construction.
any deceptive appearance:
He hid his great shyness behind a false front of aggressiveness.
Origin of false front
1885-90, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for false-front
Historical Examples
  • The schools, farms, grain elevators, and false-front business buildings are common to the entire Midwest.

    North Dakota Various
  • Red Oak slept all day behind the drab, sun-bleached, false-front buildings on both sides of the only road.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
  • The next day they ran up a false-front with a tower at either side.

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