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dissemble

To dissemble is to try to deceive someone. Your little brother tried to dissemble when you asked if he ate the last doughnut, but the chocolate icing on his face gave him away.

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. "He worked for six months at that company before they discovered he was dissembling: he had lied on his application about his credentials and education."

Definitions of dissemble
  1. verb
    behave unnaturally or affectedly
    synonyms: act, pretend
    act, behave, do
    behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
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    types:
    assume, feign, sham, simulate
    make a pretence of
    play
    pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
    feint
    deceive by a mock action
  2. verb
    make believe with the intent to deceive
    synonyms: 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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    types:
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    play possum
    to pretend to be dead
    take a dive
    pretend to be knocked out, as of a boxer
    bull, fake, talk through one's hat
    speak insincerely or without regard for facts or truths
    mouth
    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
  3. verb
    hide under a false appearance
    synonyms: cloak, mask
    see moresee less
    type of:
    disguise, mask
    make unrecognizable
Commonly confused words

disassemble / dissemble

Disassemble is to take something apart, like an old car motor, but dissemble is sneaky — it means to hide your true self, like the guy who said he was a mechanic but had never actually seen a motor, much less put one back together.

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