AskDefine | Define sham

Dictionary Definition

sham adj : adopted in order to deceive; "an assumed name"; "an assumed cheerfulness"; "a fictitious address"; "fictive sympathy"; "a pretended interest"; "a put-on childish voice"; "sham modesty" [syn: assumed, false, fictitious, fictive, pretended, put on]


1 something that is a counterfeit; not what it seems to be [syn: fake, postiche]
2 a person who makes deceitful pretenses [syn: imposter, impostor, pretender, fake, faker, fraud, shammer, pseudo, pseud, role player]


1 make a pretence of; "She assumed indifference, even though she was seething with anger"; "he feigned sleep" [syn: simulate, assume, feign]
2 make believe with the intent to deceive; "He feigned that he was ill"; "He shammed a headache" [syn: feign, pretend, affect, dissemble] [also: shamming, shammed]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A fake; an imitation that purports to be genuine.
    The time-share deal was a sham.
  2. Trickery, hoaxing.
    A con-man must be skilled in the arts of sham and deceit.
  3. A decorative cover for a pillow.

Derived terms


fake, imitation
trickery, hoaxing

See also


  1. To deceive, cheat, lie.
    You were shammed by the pool shark.


deceive, cheat, lie

Extensive Definition

Sham may refer to:
  • Sham (horse), American Thoroughbred horse born in 1970 who won multiple graded stakes races
  • Sham, Alpha Sagittae star
  • Sham (Arabic: شام), al-Sham, or Bilad al-Sham, a region in the Middle East partially including Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan
    • Ash-Shām or Sham (الشام) can also sometimes mean Damascus
  • Sham (One Piece), a minor character in the Japanese anime One Piece
  • Sham 69, English punk band
  • Sham, a word for the cover of a pillow
sham in Spanish: Sham
sham in French: Sham

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Tartuffery, Tartuffism, act, act a part, acting, adulterated, affect, affectation, affected, affectedness, airs, airs and graces, alibi, ape, apocryphal, apology, appearance, artificial, artificiality, assume, assumed, attitudinizing, bastard, blagueur, blazon, blind, bluff, bluffer, bluffing, bogus, bravura, brilliancy, brummagem, burlesque, cant, caricature, charlatan, cheat, cheating, clinquant, cloak, color, colorable, colored, coloring, copy, counterfeit, counterfeited, cover, cover story, cover up, cover-up, create, daring, dash, deceit, deception, delusion, demonstration, device, disguise, display, dissemblance, dissemble, dissembling, dissimulate, dissimulation, distorted, do a bit, dramatics, dramatize, dressed up, dummy, eclat, embellished, embroidered, ersatz, etalage, excuse, exhibition, exhibitionism, facade, face, factitious, fake, faked, fakement, faker, fakery, faking, false, false air, false front, false show, falsified, falsity, fanfaronade, farce, feign, feigned, feigned belief, feigning, feint, fictitious, fictive, figure, flair, flam, flaunt, flaunting, flourish, forged, forgery, four-flush, four-flushing, fourflusher, frame-up, fraud, fraudulent, front, gammon, garbled, gilt, gloss, guise, handle, histrionics, histrionize, hoax, hokey, humbug, humbuggery, hypocrisy, hypocritical, hypocriticalness, illegitimate, image, imitate, imitation, impersonator, impostor, imposture, insincerity, invent, junk, junky, lame excuse, let on, let on like, lie, locus standi, made-up, make a pretense, make as if, make believe, make like, make out like, make-believe, malingerer, man-made, manifestation, mannerism, mask, masquerade, mere show, meretriciousness, mislead, mock, mountebank, ostensible motive, ostentation, outward show, overact, pageant, pageantry, parade, paste, pecksniffery, perverted, pharisaicalness, pharisaism, phony, pinchbeck, plagiarized, plaster, play, play a part, play a scene, play possum, playact, playacting, poor excuse, pose, poser, poseur, posing, posture, pretend, pretended, pretender, pretense, pretension, pretext, profess, protestation, prunes and prisms, pseudo, public image, public motive, put on, put on airs, put-off, put-on, put-up job, putting on airs, quack, quacksalver, quackster, quasi, queer, refuge, representation, ringer, rip-off, saltimbanco, sanctimoniousness, sanctimony, screen, seeming, self-styled, sell, semblance, shammer, shoddy, show, showing-off, simulacrum, simulate, simulated, simulation, smoke screen, snide, so-called, soi-disant, speciousness, spectacle, splash, splurge, spoof, spurious, staginess, stalking-horse, stratagem, stylishness, substitute, subterfuge, supposititious, swindle, synthetic, theatrics, tin, tinsel, titivated, travesty, trick, tug the heartstrings, twisted, unauthentic, ungenuine, unnatural, unnaturalness, unreal, varnish, vaunt, veil, warped, wear, whited sepulcher, window dressing
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