Definition of hoax in English:

hoax

noun

  • A humorous or malicious deception.

    ‘they recognized the plan as a hoax’
    [as modifier] ‘he was accused of making hoax calls’
    • ‘There were histories of strange animals, most of which had since been identified and in a few cases turned out to be outright hoaxes or jokes.’
    • ‘A funeral urn full of ashes left in a Salford cab may have been part of an elaborate hoax by Irish pranksters.’
    • ‘Hinton, himself, was one who enjoyed playing hoaxes and jokes on others.’
    • ‘Apart from the links, there is sound advice on using the net for genealogy, including tips about how to spot scams and hoaxes.’
    • ‘He spoke on pranks, frauds, and hoaxes from around the world.’
    • ‘Of course, with the aid of mirrors, it was all an elaborate hoax with a master hidden inside making the moves.’
    • ‘Agent Bald, let's talk about the phone calls that the suspects say they made that were treated as hoaxes or jokes and nobody paid attention.’
    • ‘To be more precise, it began with a hoax newspaper story in Chicago.’
    • ‘It's not beyond people to conduct elaborate online hoaxes for any number of reasons that all really boil down to a means of getting attention.’
    • ‘I wonder how many hoaxes and scams are happening in that part of the world as we speak?’
    • ‘But no accident was discovered and police are treating the incident as a malicious hoax call.’
    • ‘A hoax bomb, consisting of a plastic bag with wires and batteries taped to it, was found inside the concert hall on the same day.’
    • ‘Many companies are plagued by urban legends, scams, and hoaxes delivered by e-mail.’
    • ‘These hoax messages promise free products if the message is forwarded to a certain number of people.’
    • ‘It leads with a report that two ambulance crew have been suspended after claims they made a hoax emergency call to colleagues.’
    • ‘They organised elaborate hoaxes like the bestowing of imaginary honours, which he appears to have accepted with due solemnity.’
    • ‘As I speculated before, it could be that he is the victim of an elaborate hoax.’
    • ‘The police say they are following a definite line of inquiry into the hoax call and hope to bring the culprit to justice shortly.’
    • ‘Whether malicious or good willed, what all hoaxes seem to have in common is an element of gaining power over somebody.’
    • ‘A suspicious device discovered outside the home of a prison officer turned out to be an elaborate hoax.’
    practical joke, joke, jest, prank, trick, jape
    ruse, deception, fraud, imposture, cheat, swindle, bluff, humbug, confidence trick
    con, spoof, scam, fast one, put-on
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Deceive with a hoax.

    • ‘When it came to hoaxing the general public, Barnum was very clever in the way he positioned himself.’
    • ‘I now have reason to believe that in unraveling a hoax I was hoaxed myself.’
    • ‘When I ask if he has ever run into any of the celebrities he has hoaxed, his initial response is to deconstruct the question.’
    • ‘I know that Ern Malley was not a real person, but a personality invented in order to hoax me.’
    • ‘His motive for hoaxing the world was clearly not financial, for he turned down opportunities of making a vast fortune from his story.’
    • ‘A few years ago, of course, Frances, one of the girls, admitted that they had hoaxed everybody.’
    • ‘In fact, in 1999 he published a revised edition of the book which argued that not only was her work unreliable due to bad research, but that the poor woman had actually been hoaxed by a number of the islanders she spent time with.’
    • ‘It's just too cruel, they say - like hoaxing someone into believing they've won the lottery.’
    • ‘As a rule I don't do anything about pleas such as this because I have been hoaxed in the past, but in this case I made an exception and forwarded the email to my address book list.’
    • ‘James also investigated the case and found that Tina was hoaxing her adoptive parents and using the media attention to assist her quest to find her biological parents.’
    • ‘No amount of fossil data will induce them to admit they are hoaxing their readers.’
    • ‘Then he turned to hoaxing the gullible, those who wanted to believe in ‘miracle cures’.’
    • ‘The newspaper later confirmed that it had been hoaxed and printed a front-page apology, with a pledge to donate money to charity.’
    • ‘It took a few hours, and the worldwide dissemination of the story, before the they realized it had been hoaxed.’
    play a practical joke on, play a joke on, play a jest on, play a prank on, trick, fool
    deceive, hoodwink, delude, dupe, take in, lead on, cheat, bluff, gull, humbug
    con, kid, have on, pull a fast one on, put one over on, take for a ride, lead someone up the garden path, pull the wool over someone's eyes
    gammon
    sucker, snooker, hornswoggle
    pull a swifty on
    bullshit
    cozen
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 18th century (as a verb): probably a contraction of hocus.

Pronunciation:

hoax

/hōks/