Thursday, June 23, 2005

Word of the Day: sham

The American Heritage Dictionary reveals the meaning of sham:
n.
1. Something false or empty that is purported to be genuine; a spurious imitation.
2. The quality of deceitfulness; empty pretense.
3. One who assumes a false character; an impostor: "He a man! Hell! He was a hollow sham!" Joseph Conrad.
4. A decorative cover made to simulate an article of household linen and used over or in place of it: a pillow sham.
adj.
Not genuine; fake: sham diamonds; sham modesty.
v. shammed, sham·ming, shams
v.tr.
To put on the false appearance of; feign: "shamming insanity to get his tormentors to leave him alone" John Wain.
v.intr.
To assume a false appearance or character; dissemble.
[Perhaps dialectal variant of shame.]
shammer n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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