Definition of false in English:


Pronunciation: /fɒls//fɔːls/


  • 1Not according with truth or fact; incorrect:

    ‘he was feeding false information to his customers’
    ‘the allegations were false’
    • ‘She lashed out at ‘certain media organisations [that] have distorted facts and spread false rumours’.’
    • ‘However, when the information is false, malicious, misleading and is a personal attack on me, then I feel I have no other choice but to defend myself and set the record straight.’
    • ‘The distinction between natural and artificial chemical is a false one, used by advertisers to market a product and usually at a higher cost!’
    • ‘There are three main aspects of market abuse - misuse of information, creating false / misleading impressions, and distortion.’
    • ‘Both facts are, of course, true in one sense - but putting them together without the third fact gives a completely false impression.’
    • ‘Another abuse of the freedom of expression would be to make a false statement of fact that others could be expected to rely upon when making a decision to purchase something.’
    • ‘A lack of diligence in these responsibilities will result in the company being accused of making false statements of material facts in financial reports.’
    • ‘Those found to have released false or misleading information face criminal prosecution and fines of up to HK $10 million.’
    • ‘Why did the minister provide false and misleading information to the South Australian police minister?’
    • ‘Someone was in fact willing to defend spreading rumors and false information on the Internet!’
    • ‘We make no claim that something is incorrect, false, or erroneous.’
    • ‘Her statement, however, is incorrigibly abstract and false in its application to the circumstances.’
    • ‘Unproven claims cleverly mask the truth with false doctrines about nature's workings that distort unsuspecting perceptions of reality.’
    • ‘This study points out that most of the published results of medical research are, in fact, false.’
    • ‘It will also be a criminal offence to give false or misleading information to the Ombudsman Commission.’
    • ‘Modal logic has a more sophisticated truth definition in which formulas are not simply globally true or false; their truth depends on your point of view.’
    • ‘In recent years, I have become convinced that one of the biggest obstacles to information security is incorrect reasoning based on false analogies.’
    • ‘Now, I expect that you will not take three months to publicly apologize for spreading false truths about me.’
    • ‘He was found guilty of sexual harassment, making false mileage claims, giving false or misleading information to the club's marketing committee and gross incompetence.’
    • ‘He has gathered evidence of corruption and fraud and collected his findings in a vast private archive that will now be his main weapon in sorting out the truth from propaganda and false allegations.’
    incorrect, untrue, wrong, erroneous, fallacious, faulty, flawed, distorted, inaccurate, inexact, imprecise, invalid, unfounded
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    1. 1.1 Not according with rules or law:
      ‘false imprisonment’
      • ‘Action to prevent a forced marriage currently has to be brought about through laws on false imprisonment, threatening behaviour, harassment or assault.’
      • ‘He was given a life sentence in March this year after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm, false imprisonment and threats to kill.’
      • ‘From what I'm hearing about the allegations, they don't mention anything about false imprisonment or kidnapping.’
      • ‘Two men, both from Rochdale and aged 30 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of kidnap, false imprisonment and sexual assault.’
      • ‘Both were convicted of indecently assaulting one victim, two charges of kidnapping, one of attempted kidnapping and three of false imprisonment.’
      • ‘Donald Fisher, who is accused of false imprisonment and assault, admitted using a rope to bind the 15-year-old boy's hands behind his back.’
      • ‘He was arrested later that day, and on May 17 this year was convicted of rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault at Maidstone Crown Court.’
      • ‘She was charged with a felony count of false imprisonment and a gross misdemeanor count of criminal sexual conduct.’
      • ‘The accused, who were all Chinese and from London, admitted various charges including grievous bodily harm, kidnap and false imprisonment.’
  • 2Made to imitate something in order to deceive:

    ‘the trunk had a false bottom’
    ‘a false passport’
    • ‘Customs and Excise officers x-rayed his suitcase full of women's clothing he claimed was his girlfriend's and then ripped open its false bottom to uncover the drugs.’
    • ‘He admitted helping people to get hold of false passports and Sim cards for mobile phones but denied any involvement in the credit card fraud.’
    • ‘They had been travelling on false British and Irish passports when they were arrested on August 11 as they prepared to board a flight to Paris.’
    • ‘Mr North removed the bottom portion of the false wall and found measures of damp using a resistance machine but his wife insists that this has not been investigated fully by the inspectors.’
    • ‘Its activists can hide themselves among the civilian population and, using false identities and fake passports, they can move easily across international borders.’
    • ‘Six weeks ago, using a false passport, he apparently sneaked into the United States and decided to seek political asylum on the basis of his past relations with the CIA.’
    • ‘We are very concerned that someone is attempting to get hold of original certificates, which could then be used to obtain false documentation such as passports or for other fraudulent purposes.’
    • ‘In February 2002, a Kenyan diamond dealer based in Liberia was arrested in Belgium on charges of criminal association and using a false passport.’
    • ‘A bag stuffed with fake passports and false IDs found abandoned near Heathrow airport may be linked to West Yorkshire.’
    • ‘The trio were arrested by the Colombian authorities in August 2001 and accused of travelling on false passports and training the FARC militia.’
    • ‘Ships, towns, and whole armies might fly or display false arms to deceive the enemy.’
    • ‘A Yorkshire takeaway owner who helped obtain false passports for failed Turkish asylum-seekers so they could stay longer in Britain has been jailed for 18 months.’
    • ‘He faced Labor attacks over claims members of his Department encouraged failed asylum seekers to obtain false passports.’
    • ‘On August 8 2000 the Iraqi was deported from Australia and a stamp inside his false passport is evidence of that date of departure.’
    • ‘Basildon police and immigration officers are hunting a Nigerian conman who has fleeced several banks and may be creating false passports for other criminals.’
    • ‘All three had been travelling on false passports.’
    • ‘One had stayed illegally after her six-month visa had expired, the other had been in the UK for some years after being brought into the country on a false passport.’
    • ‘Officers at the airport discovered 5.5kg of cocaine worth €400,000 in the false bottom of a suitcase when they stopped a man on Thursday evening.’
    • ‘A court heard how 30 fake Belgian and ten false French passports were found in the lining of a bag after Customs officers checked luggage off a flight from Zurich.’
    • ‘He said he was arrested in Indonesia last year while travelling to Australia on a false South African passport and deported here on November 1.’
    1. 2.1 Artificial:
      ‘false eyelashes’
      • ‘Cohen saw potential in a beauty parlour where women could get make-up done, have eyebrows plucked or false eyelash extensions applied.’
      • ‘A generation ago, women were asking each other why they were wasting half the day fitting corsets and false eyelashes, and the other half trying to perfect an orange souffle.’
      • ‘Her make-up was all warm brown and dark black tones, and if Anne's wasn't mistaken… she was wearing false eyelashes.’
      • ‘Giselle blinked with her long, false eyelashes, then began to lead the way, Desiree trailing behind her.’
      • ‘For a subtle effect, use only half a false eyelash on the outer corner of each eye; apply from the outer edge in.’
      • ‘Traditional false eyelashes are uncomfortable and difficult to apply.’
      • ‘They had false eyelashes, they had shaven their eyebrows, and they had coloured in 12 tones from the eyelash up to the eyebrows.’
      • ‘For glamorous eyes, we'd use false eyelashes, although we'd cut them in half to avoid looking too artificial.’
      fake, artificial, imitation, synthetic, simulated, reproduction, replica, ersatz, faux, plastic, man-made, dummy, mock, sham, bogus, so-called
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    2. 2.2 Not sincere:
      ‘a horribly false smile’
      • ‘The rides look old and crummy, paint peeling, false smiles painted on everything.’
      • ‘She grinned, the smile feeling false on her face.’
      • ‘I stifled a false sob and smiled weakly, as in my mind I thought how ridiculous this whole situation was.’
      • ‘Nobara walked quickly down the stairs, looking from side to side, flashing a false smile to the crowd.’
      • ‘Emerald smiled faintly, but the smile seemed false.’
      • ‘Faith said with false sympathy that sounded sincere.’
      • ‘It's more a quest for the tiny slices of life, the images not posed, not burdened by forced smiles or false camaraderie.’
      • ‘They still wore somber colors and false smiles.’
      • ‘She went through the days with a false smile; going to work, making dinner, doing the laundry.’
      • ‘‘Different look, but the same person inside,’ he said, his smile not false.’
      • ‘Crystal approached her with a motherly smile and a false calm performance.’
      • ‘They use scantily clad models and people who offer false smiles to convince me that their goods (which are usually bad for me) are fun and harmless.’
      • ‘Even your smiles are false, and awkward to behold.’
      • ‘I forced a smile, a lying, deceitful, false smile, as if that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.’
      • ‘Soon I would be thrust into the upper-class whirlwind of lies and false smiles.’
      • ‘She gave him a false smile and dissolved into a bout of strong tears, overwhelmed with emotion of such change that had taken place and yearning for her real home, the home she belonged in.’
      • ‘She had composed herself and was full of polite words and false smiles.’
      • ‘Another small gem goes like this: ‘Resist whispered speech and false pleasant smiles when in the boss's company.’’
      • ‘However, she had to continue her façade of being a noble lady, so she simply forced a false smile onto her face.’
      • ‘She met the stranger's with her best false smile.’
  • 3Illusory; not actually so:

    ‘sunscreens give users a false sense of security’
    • ‘This horrifying phenomenon has yet to reach the UK, but there is little doubt that prime-time television coverage of plastic surgery is lulling the public into a false sense of security.’
    • ‘It's a false sense of security that they are actually holding on to.’
    • ‘Perhaps most sinister of all was how the picturesque splendor and tranquil beauty of Beard's Hollow lulled my fiancée Cheryl and me into a false sense of security.’
    • ‘In the darker months, schoolchildren particularly would venture on to the moor, lulled into a false sense of security because it would be ‘an official cycleway’.’
    • ‘We made a plea to all hill-goers using this type of aid: learn how to use it (in a safer environment) before you go on the hill, do not let it replace common sense and let it give a false sense of security.’
    • ‘We see people winning the game and losing, and those that think they are winning are fooled into a false security that actually makes them losers.’
    • ‘Teaching kids that men are inherently evil is as wrong as teaching them that the world contains no bad whatsoever - a false picture, a false sense of security.’
    • ‘The report went on to suggest that the much talked about availability of infertility treatments was lulling women into a false sense of security, with many believing IVF was a reliable and easy option.’
    • ‘The globalisation of the English language, especially in trade and politics, has lulled Western intelligence agencies into a false sense of national security.’
    • ‘But the US vetoed the protocol, claiming that it would create a false sense of security while not actually catching cheats.’
    • ‘The moral of the story: a Virus Scanner that is not regularly updated - at least monthly, but weekly is better - just provides you with a false sense of security.’
    • ‘Now several papers are suggesting the election battle may be much closer in key marginal seats and that Michael Howard is trying to lull Labour and its supporters into a false sense of security in order to sneak a victory.’
    • ‘And as Mr Mayhew was aware of the defect, and was hoping to take advantage of the landlords' mistake, he lulled them into a false sense of security by not taking this point.’
    • ‘The review has not produced any dramatic u-turns, and certainly not a management clear-out (unless Olver is lulling us all into a false sense of security).’
    • ‘Yet this merely lulls you into a false sense of security, as you imagine you are about to be taken on a trip down memory lane.’
    • ‘Welcome to the idiosyncratic world of Boothby Graffoe - the guitarist comic who lulls his audience into a false sense of security before jolting them with well-aimed barbs.’
    • ‘As far as events on-field go, you will know that our top-secret plan of attempting to lull the opposition into a false sense of security by performing abysmally in the pool games almost came off.’
    • ‘Cruising on a motorway is undemanding and lures drivers into a false sense of security, many of them feeling that just one hand loosely resting on the bottom of the steering wheel is adequate for control.’
    • ‘Managers somehow believe that by avoiding the media and keeping a low profile, that the opposition can be lulled into a false sense of security.’
    • ‘He blames the long sweeping S-bend at Broad Oak for lulling drivers into a false sense of security and says that although the stretch of road has a 40 mph limit drivers use it like a race track.’
    delusory, delusional, delusive
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    1. 3.1[attributive] Used in names of plants, animals, and gems that superficially resemble the thing properly so called, e.g. false oat.
      • ‘The whole family fortune is lavished upon diadems and necklaces of true or false gems. They have no other wealth.’
      • ‘False oats grass looks a little like oats because of the shape and position of the flowers on the stalk.’
      • ‘Other plants are false nettle, a pink Saint-John's wort, and two species of white-flowered smartweeds.’
      • ‘Although suffering from an overabundance of names, false holly makes a handsome evergreen accent at the back of the border.’
      • ‘Animals like the false killer whale and bottlenose dolphin show how much variety is possible by purely natural means.’
  • 4Disloyal; unfaithful:

    ‘a false lover’
    • ‘True in love ever be, unless thy lover's false to thee.’
    faithless, unfaithful, disloyal, untrue, inconstant, false-hearted, treacherous, traitorous, perfidious, two-faced, janus-faced, double-dealing, double-crossing, deceitful, deceiving, deceptive, dishonourable, dishonest, duplicitous, hypocritical, untrustworthy, unreliable
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  • false position

    • A situation in which one is compelled to act in a manner inconsistent with one's true nature or principles.

      • ‘Has she been led into a false position by eager cynics who have sacrificed nothing and who would happily surrender unconditionally to the worst enemy that currently faces civilization?’
      • ‘Even in the kitchen, Bourdain feels himself to be in a false position; aggressive bravado and loud-mouthed bravura are his means of self-defence.’
      • ‘An overt ritual would not be natural to me, so it would put both of us into a slightly false position.’
      • ‘It put them in a false position as they categorically denied the existence of any bonded labourers in those areas.’
      • ‘In any relationship there will be give and take, so you have to operate from a position of self awareness, or else you enter the give and take aspect from a false position and end up making decisions built on nonresistant values.’


Old English fals ‘fraud, deceit’, from Latin falsum fraud, neuter past participle of fallere deceive; reinforced or re-formed in Middle English from Old French fals, faus false.