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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 feign
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wolves are most treacherous brutes, and sometimes badly wounded ones will feign to be dead when very far from it.

    Three Boys in the Wild North Land Egerton Ryerson Young
  • I am not so simple, señora, I can feign love—for love's sake.

    Margaret Tudor Annie T. Colcock
  • In common justice to Conetta I had to feign an indifference I was far from feeling—which was more of the hypocrisy.

    Pirates' Hope Francis Lynde
  • To feign a smooth face to the world that his pride may not be humbled.

    The Fifth Queen Crowned Ford Madox Ford
  • When you say 'evangelized,' you do not translate, but feign a new word, which is not understood of mere English ears.

British Dictionary definitions for feign


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 feign

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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