To dissemble is to hide under a false appearance, to deceive. "When confronted about their human rights record, the Chinese government typically dissembles."

Dissemble is a little more complicated than a straight lie or denial. When you dissemble, you disguise your true intentions or feelings behind a false appearance. To dissemble is to pretend that you don't know something, to pretend that you think one way when you act another way. "My boyfriend was dissembling the whole time. He was a married father of two."

Definitions of dissemble

v behave unnaturally or affectedly

act, pretend
act, behave, do
behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
assume, feign, sham, simulate
make a pretence of
pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
deceive by a mock action

v make believe with the intent to deceive

affect, feign, pretend, sham
make, make believe, pretend
represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like
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play possum
to pretend to be dead
take a dive
pretend to be knocked out, as of a boxer
bull, bullshit, fake, talk through one's hat
speak insincerely or without regard for facts or truths
articulate silently; form words with the lips only
lip-sync, lip-synch
move the lips in synchronization (with recorded speech or song)
Type of:
belie, misrepresent
represent falsely

v hide under a false appearance

cloak, mask
Type of:
disguise, mask
make unrecognizable

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