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[fawls] /fɔls/
adjective, falser, falsest.
not true or correct; erroneous:
a false statement.
uttering or declaring what is untrue:
a false witness.
not faithful or loyal; treacherous:
a false friend.
tending to deceive or mislead; deceptive:
a false impression.
not genuine; counterfeit.
based on mistaken, erroneous, or inconsistent impressions, ideas, or facts:
false pride.
used as a substitute or supplement, especially temporarily:
false supports for a bridge.
Biology. having a superficial resemblance to something that properly bears the name:
the false acacia.
not properly, accurately, or honestly made, done, or adjusted:
a false balance.
inaccurate in pitch, as a musical note.
dishonestly; faithlessly; treacherously:
Did he speak false against me?
play someone false, to betray someone; be treacherous or faithless.
Origin of false
before 1000; Middle English, Old English fals < Latin falsus feigned, false, orig. past participle of fallere to deceive; reinforced by or reborrowed from Anglo-French, Old French fals, feminine false < Latin
Related forms
falsely, adverb
falseness, noun
half-false, adjective
quasi-false, adjective
quasi-falsely, adverb
1. mistaken, incorrect, wrong, untrue. 2. untruthful, lying, mendacious. 3. insincere, hypocritical, disingenuous, disloyal, unfaithful, inconstant, perfidious, traitorous. 4. misleading, fallacious. 5. artificial, spurious, bogus, forged. False, sham, counterfeit agree in referring to something that is not genuine. False is used mainly of imitations of concrete objects; it sometimes implies an intent to deceive: false teeth; false hair. Sham is rarely used of concrete objects and usually has the suggestion of intent to deceive: sham title; sham tears. Counterfeit always has the implication of cheating; it is used particularly of spurious imitation of coins, paper money, etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for falseness
Historical Examples
  • In the Peace Stead no crime had ever been committed, no blood had ever been shed, no falseness had ever been spoken.

    The Children of Odin Padraic Colum
  • The result is a confusion of all the functions of the society, and a falseness in all its mores.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • It is only by reason of its falseness and inconvenience that it becomes absurd.

  • Then on her lips, the dear lips that know no word of falseness, he lays his kiss.

    The Child of Pleasure Gabriele D'Annunzio
  • The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it: it is here, perhaps, that our new language sounds most strangely.

    Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Morton was heir to the feud of his family, and to the falseness.

  • falseness dies; injustice and oppression in the end of everything fade and vanish away.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • Do you not know that I hate him as bitterly for his falseness to you?

  • What can she know of the falseness of fair words, and of the base thoughts that a smiling face can cover?

    London's Heart B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • He felt the delicacy and yet at the same time the falseness of the position in which he stood.

British Dictionary definitions for falseness


not in accordance with the truth or facts
irregular or invalid: a false start
untruthful or lying: a false account
not genuine, real, or natural; artificial; fake: false eyelashes
being or intended to be misleading or deceptive: a false rumour
disloyal or treacherous: a false friend
based on mistaken or irrelevant ideas or facts: false pride, a false argument
(prenominal) (esp of plants) superficially resembling the species specified: false hellebore
serving to supplement or replace, often temporarily: a false keel
  1. (of a note, interval, etc) out of tune
  2. (of the interval of a perfect fourth or fifth) decreased by a semitone
  3. (of a cadence) interrupted or imperfect
in a false or dishonest manner (esp in the phrase play (someone) false)
Derived Forms
falsely, adverb
falseness, noun
Word Origin
Old English fals, from Latin falsus, from fallere to deceive
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 falseness

c.1300, from false + -ness.



late 12c., from Old French fals, faus (12c., Modern French faux) "false, fake, incorrect, mistaken, treacherous, deceitful," from Latin falsus "deceived, erroneous, mistaken," past participle of fallere "deceive, disappoint," of uncertain origin (see fail).

Adopted into other Germanic languages (cf. German falsch, Dutch valsch, Danish falsk), though English is the only one in which the active sense of "deceitful" (a secondary sense in Latin) has predominated. False alarm recorded from 1570s. Related: Falsely; falseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with falseness
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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