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Middle English false, from Old English fals (wrong, mistaken), from Latin falsus (counterfeit, false; falsehood), perfect passive participle of fallō (deceive). Reinforced in Middle English by Anglo-Norman and Old French fals, faus. Compare German falsch, Dutch vals, Danish and Swedish falsk, all from Latin falsus. Displaced native Middle English les, lese (false), from Old English lēas; See lease, leasing.

For spelling, the -e (on -lse) is so the end is pronounced /ls/, rather than /lz/ as in falls, and does not change the vowel (‘a’). Compare else, pulse, convulse.



false (comparative falser, superlative falsest)

  1. Untrue, not factual, factually incorrect.
  2. Based on factually incorrect premises.
    false legislation
  3. Spurious, artificial.
    false teeth
    • 1907, Robert W. Chambers, chapter VIII, The Younger Set:
      At her invitation he outlined for her the succeeding chapters with terse military accuracy ; and what she liked best and best understood was avoidance of that false modesty which condescends, turning technicality into pabulum.
  4. (logic) Of a state in Boolean logic that indicates a negative result.
  5. Uttering falsehood; dishonest or deceitful.
    a false witness
  6. Not faithful or loyal, as to obligations, allegiance, vows, etc.; untrue; treacherous.
    a false friend, lover, or subject;  false to promises
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      I to myself was false, ere thou to me.
  7. Not well founded; not firm or trustworthy; erroneous.
    a false conclusion;  a false construction in grammar
    • Edmund Spenser (c.1552–1599)
      whose false foundation waves have swept away
  8. Not essential or permanent, as parts of a structure which are temporary or supplemental.
  9. (music) Out of tune.



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


false (comparative more false, superlative most false)

  1. Not truly; not honestly; falsely.
    • Shakespeare
      You play me false.


false (plural falses)

  1. One of two options on a true-or-false test.
    The student received a failing grade for circling every true and false on her quiz.




false f pl

  1. feminine plural of falso




  1. vocative singular of falsus




  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of falsar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of falsar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of falsar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of falsar.