Definition of false in English:


Pronunciation /fɔːls//fɒls/


  • 1Not according with truth or fact; incorrect.

    ‘he was feeding false information to his customers’
    ‘the allegations were false’
    • ‘Why did the minister provide false and misleading information to the South Australian police minister?’
    • ‘It will also be a criminal offence to give false or misleading information to the Ombudsman Commission.’
    • ‘Those found to have released false or misleading information face criminal prosecution and fines of up to HK $10 million.’
    • ‘We make no claim that something is incorrect, false, or erroneous.’
    • ‘Now, I expect that you will not take three months to publicly apologize for spreading false truths about me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Someone was in fact willing to defend spreading rumors and false information on the Internet!’
    • ‘In recent years, I have become convinced that one of the biggest obstacles to information security is incorrect reasoning based on false analogies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This study points out that most of the published results of medical research are, in fact, false.’
    • ‘Unproven claims cleverly mask the truth with false doctrines about nature's workings that distort unsuspecting perceptions of reality.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She lashed out at ‘certain media organisations [that] have distorted facts and spread false rumours’.’
    • ‘Her statement, however, is incorrigibly abstract and false in its application to the circumstances.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘A lack of diligence in these responsibilities will result in the company being accused of making false statements of material facts in financial reports.’
    • ‘There are three main aspects of market abuse - misuse of information, creating false / misleading impressions, and distortion.’
    incorrect, untrue, wrong, erroneous, fallacious, faulty, flawed, distorted, inaccurate, inexact, imprecise, invalid, unfounded
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Not according with rules or law.
      ‘false imprisonment’
      • ‘The accused, who were all Chinese and from London, admitted various charges including grievous bodily harm, kidnap and false imprisonment.’
      • ‘Both were convicted of indecently assaulting one victim, two charges of kidnapping, one of attempted kidnapping and three of false imprisonment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Two men, both from Rochdale and aged 30 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of kidnap, false imprisonment and sexual assault.’
      • ‘She was charged with a felony count of false imprisonment and a gross misdemeanor count of criminal sexual conduct.’
      • ‘Action to prevent a forced marriage currently has to be brought about through laws on false imprisonment, threatening behaviour, harassment or assault.’
  • 2Made to imitate something in order to deceive.

    ‘the trunk had a false bottom’
    ‘a false passport’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Basildon police and immigration officers are hunting a Nigerian conman who has fleeced several banks and may be creating false passports for other criminals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All three had been travelling on false passports.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its activists can hide themselves among the civilian population and, using false identities and fake passports, they can move easily across international borders.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ships, towns, and whole armies might fly or display false arms to deceive the enemy.’
    • ‘On August 8 2000 the Iraqi was deported from Australia and a stamp inside his false passport is evidence of that date of departure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He faced Labor attacks over claims members of his Department encouraged failed asylum seekers to obtain false passports.’
    • ‘The trio were arrested by the Colombian authorities in August 2001 and accused of travelling on false passports and training the FARC militia.’
    • ‘A bag stuffed with fake passports and false IDs found abandoned near Heathrow airport may be linked to West Yorkshire.’
    1. 2.1 Artificial.
      ‘false eyelashes’
      • ‘Giselle blinked with her long, false eyelashes, then began to lead the way, Desiree trailing behind her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cohen saw potential in a beauty parlour where women could get make-up done, have eyebrows plucked or false eyelash extensions applied.’
      • ‘They had false eyelashes, they had shaven their eyebrows, and they had coloured in 12 tones from the eyelash up to the eyebrows.’
      • ‘Her make-up was all warm brown and dark black tones, and if Anne's wasn't mistaken… she was wearing false eyelashes.’
      • ‘Traditional false eyelashes are uncomfortable and difficult to apply.’
      • ‘For a subtle effect, use only half a false eyelash on the outer corner of each eye; apply from the outer edge in.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Not sincere.
      ‘a horribly false smile’
      • ‘She went through the days with a false smile; going to work, making dinner, doing the laundry.’
      • ‘Crystal approached her with a motherly smile and a false calm performance.’
      • ‘Soon I would be thrust into the upper-class whirlwind of lies and false smiles.’
      • ‘Another small gem goes like this: ‘Resist whispered speech and false pleasant smiles when in the boss's company.’’
      • ‘Even your smiles are false, and awkward to behold.’
      • ‘She grinned, the smile feeling false on her face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They still wore somber colors and false smiles.’
      • ‘She met the stranger's with her best false smile.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Faith said with false sympathy that sounded sincere.’
      • ‘‘Different look, but the same person inside,’ he said, his smile not false.’
      • ‘Emerald smiled faintly, but the smile seemed false.’
      • ‘The rides look old and crummy, paint peeling, false smiles painted on everything.’
      • ‘I stifled a false sob and smiled weakly, as in my mind I thought how ridiculous this whole situation was.’
      • ‘I forced a smile, a lying, deceitful, false smile, as if that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.’
      • ‘Nobara walked quickly down the stairs, looking from side to side, flashing a false smile to the crowd.’
      • ‘It's more a quest for the tiny slices of life, the images not posed, not burdened by forced smiles or false camaraderie.’
      • ‘However, she had to continue her façade of being a noble lady, so she simply forced a false smile onto her face.’
  • 3Illusory; not actually so.

    ‘sunscreens give users a false sense of security’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's a false sense of security that they are actually holding on to.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘The globalisation of the English language, especially in trade and politics, has lulled Western intelligence agencies into a false sense of national security.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘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.’
    delusory, delusional, delusive
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1attributive Used in names of plants, animals, and gems that superficially resemble the thing properly so called, e.g. false oat.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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
    View synonyms


  • 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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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’.