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From Middle English false, fals, from Old English fals ‎(false; counterfeit; fraudulent; 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 Scots fals, false, Saterland Frisian falsk, 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.