feign

For a more formal way to say pretend to or imitate, choose the verb feign. You might feign indifference when you hear about some gossip, but you're probably dying to know.

Feign comes from the Latin fingere "to devise, fabricate." The word fiction comes from the same source, so if you feign something such as sleep, you give off the fiction that you are sleeping. This can be done to be polite but also to deceive such as when you feign an injury or the flu so you can stay home from school or work. You can also feign an accent, though some are better at this than others.

Definitions of feign
  1. verb
    make believe with the intent to deceive
    “He feigned that he was ill”
    synonyms: affect, dissemble, 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
  2. verb
    make a pretence of
    “he feigned sleep”
    synonyms: assume, sham, simulate
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    types:
    play
    pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
    feint
    deceive by a mock action
    type of:
    act, dissemble, pretend
    behave unnaturally or affectedly
Word Family