Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Contrary to fact or truth: false tales of bravery.
  • adj. Deliberately untrue: delivered false testimony under oath.
  • adj. Arising from mistaken ideas: false hopes of writing a successful novel.
  • adj. Intentionally deceptive: a suitcase with a false bottom; false promises.
  • adj. Not keeping faith; treacherous: a false friend. See Synonyms at faithless.
  • adj. Not genuine or real: false teeth; false documents.
  • adj. Erected temporarily, as for support during construction.
  • adj. Resembling but not accurately or properly designated as such: a false thaw in January; the false dawn peculiar to the tropics.
  • adj. Music Of incorrect pitch.
  • adj. Unwise; imprudent: Don't make a false move or I'll shoot.
  • adj. Computer Science Indicating one of two possible values taken by a variable in Boolean logic or a binary device.
  • adv. In a treacherous or faithless manner: play a person false.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Untrue, not factual, factually incorrect.
  • adj. Based on factually incorrect premises: false legislation
  • adj. Spurious, artificial (as in false teeth).
  • adj. A state in Boolean logic that indicates a negative result.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Uttering falsehood; unveracious; given to deceit; dishnest.
  • adj. Not faithful or loyal, as to obligations, allegiance, vows, etc.; untrue; treacherous; perfidious
  • adj. Not according with truth or reality; not true; fitted or likely to deceive or disappoint.
  • adj. Not genuine or real; assumed or designed to deceive; counterfeit; hypocritical
  • adj. Not well founded; not firm or trustworthy; erroneous
  • adj. Not essential or permanent, as parts of a structure which are temporary or supplemental.
  • adj. Not in tune.
  • adv. Not truly; not honestly; falsely.
  • transitive v. To report falsely; to falsify.
  • transitive v. To betray; to falsify.
  • transitive v. To mislead by want of truth; to deceive.
  • transitive v. To feign; to pretend to make.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not in conformity with fact; expressing or comprising what is contrary to fact or truth; erroneous; untrue: as, a false report; a false accusation; a false opinion.
  • Giving utterance to what is not true; untruthful; mendacious: as, a false witness.
  • Perfidious; treacherous; unfaithful; inconstant; disloyal; dishonest; unjust: said of persons.
  • Containing or conveying deception, falsehood, or treachery; adapted or intended to mislead: said of things.
  • Irregular; not according to rule or usage: as, false syntax or quantity.
  • Not genuine; being other than it appears to be; not real; made in imitation, or to serve the purpose of the genuine article
  • with intent to defraud or deceive; spurious: as, false coin;
  • for the sake of mere appearance or for use or convenience; artificial: as, a false buttonhole; false teeth.
  • Technically, in botany and zoology, having some superficial resemblance to some other plant or animal: used like the Latin quasi-, or Greek pseudo-, in composition. See quasi-, pseudo-.
  • In music, not in tune; inaccurate in pitch; singing or playing out of tune.
  • In heraldry, open or voided: said of some bearings: as, a false cross; a false roundel (an annulet); a false escutcheon (a bordure, or sometimes an orle).
  • In fortification, an artificial mound or bank of earth forming part of a fortification.
  • n. A falsehood; that which is false.
  • Falsely.—To play false, to play one false
  • To mislead by falsehood; deceive; betray.
  • To defeat; balk; evade.
  • To violate by want of veracity; falsify.
  • To render false, treacherous, or dishonest.
  • To feign, as a blow; aim by way of a feint.
  • To be false; deceive; practise deceit.
  • Additional; assistant; subsidiary; supplementary; temporary; used to supplement or temporarily displace something: as, the false work or supports for a bridge which is under construction.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. in a disloyal and faithless manner
  • adj. not in accordance with the fact or reality or actuality
  • adj. inappropriate to reality or facts
  • adj. adopted in order to deceive
  • adj. inaccurate in pitch
  • adj. erroneous and usually accidental
  • adj. not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article
  • adj. arising from error
  • adj. deliberately deceptive
  • adj. (used especially of persons) not dependable in devotion or affection; unfaithful
  • adj. designed to deceive

Etymologies

Middle English fals, from Old English, counterfeit, and from Old French, false, both from Latin falsus, from past participle of fallere, to deceive.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English false, from Old English fals ("false, fraud, falsehood"), from Latin falsus ("counterfeit, false; falsehood"), perfect passive participle of fallō ("deceive"). Uncommon before the 12 century, the word was reinforced in Middle English by Norman fals (compare Old French faus), eventually displacing native Middle English les, lese ("false"), from Old English lēas; See lease, leasing. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If the word ˜false™ in a is taken in the third sense, therefore, a's primary significate does exist, since it is a fact that a is false in the third sense.

    Insolubles

  • The world may, and (as a matter of fact) does abound in false Churches, just as it abounds in false deities; but, this is rendered possible only _because they are false_.

    The Purpose of the Papacy

  • This Rome, this scene of false priests, clothed not in the beauty of holiness, but in far other vesture, is _false_: but what is it to Luther?

    Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History

  • No, she is _false, false, false_, -- _false_ as the lost angels who fell from paradise into the burning pit of doom. '

    Ernest Linwood or, The Inner Life of the Author

  • _false doctrine, heresy and schism_: false doctrine is the thought; heresy, the plan; and schism, the action -- of a Churchman against the

    The Prayer Book Explained

  • My action should not plunge you into an abyss of woe; but _now_ that he is false -- _false as Hell_ ---- "

    When the Birds Begin to Sing

  • These are so contemptible and so absurdly false, that they do not merit any other notice than to write _false_, _false_, on every page. "

    Hortense Makers of History Series

  • The only trace of Tom and Tim were their names on the marquee... which gave a whole new meaning to the term "false advertising."

    David Macaray: Movie Stars Shouldn't Do Animal Voices

  • "On a mass scale, this gave new meaning to the term false advertising," said Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, during a news conference in Manhattan.

    NYT > Home Page

  • They believed that as a man of goodwill he would reach beyond what I term false absolutes, the false absolutes of secular and religious ideologies, to engage in process the reality of what is.

    Dr. Robert Aziz: An Inaugural Invocation For A Man of Goodwill

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