imposture

imposture, cheat, fraud, sham, fake, humbug, deceit, deception, counterfeit all mean something which pretends to be one thing in its nature, character, or quality but is really another.
Imposture applies not only to an object but to an act or practice which is passed off to another as genuine, authentic, or bona fide
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several of the gallery's paintings reputed to be the work of Rubens and Rembrandt were impostures

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the hero is as gross an imposture as the heroine— Shaw

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its values . . . are an imposture: pretending to honor and distinction, it accepts all that is vulgar and base— Edmund Wilson

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Cheat applies chiefly to some-thing or sometimes to someone that wins one's belief in its or his genuineness, either because one is deliberately misled or imposed upon by another or is the victim of illusion or delusion
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when I consider life,'tis all a cheat. Yet fooled with hope, men favor the deceit— Dryden

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what. . . man . . . shall prove (what argument could never yet) the Bible an imposture and a cheat?—Cowper

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hence, pageant history! hence, gilded cheat!Keats

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if I passed myself off on Miss Carew as a gentleman, I should deserve to be exposed as a cheatShaw

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Fraud applies to a deliberate, often criminal, perversion of the truth
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many persons persisted in believing that his supposed suicide was but another fraudM'Carthy

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we may take it as undisputed that Swinburne ... did something that had not been done before, and that what he did will not turn out to be a fraud—T. S. Eliot

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Applied to a person it may be less condemnatory and suggest pretense and hypocrisy
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the pious fraud who freely indulges in the sins against which he eloquently preaches—La Farge

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Sham applies to a close copy of a thing, especially to one that is more or less obviously a fraudulent imitation
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a strong living soul in him, and sincerity there; a reality, not an artificiality, not a shamlCarlyle

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he smiled, in his worldliest manner. But the smile was a shamBennett

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Fake applies either to a person that represents himself as someone he is not or, more often, to a worthless thing that is represented as being something that it is not; fake differs from fraud in not necessarily implying dishonesty in these representations, for a fake may be a joke or a theatrical device, or it may be a clear fraud
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this testimonial is clearly a fake

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one of the great fakes of all time was the Cardiff Giant

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actors using fakes instead of real swords on the stage

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he pretends everything is what it is not, he is a fake—K. A. Porter

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Humbug applies to a person or sometimes a thing that pretends or is pretended to be other and usually more important than he or it is, not necessarily because of a desire on the part of the person involved to deceive others but often because he is self-deceived
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you will take to politics, where you will become . . . the henchman of ambitious humbugsShaw

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what humbugs we are, who pretend to live for beauty, and never see the dawn!— L. P. Smithy

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Deceit and deception both apply to something that misleads one or deludes one into taking it for what it is not.
Deceit, however, usually suggests the work of a deceiver or of one that misleads or leads astray
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the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil— Book of Common Prayer

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they [Indians] held that the basest trickery or deceit was not dishonorable if directed against a foe— Amer. Guide Series: R.I.

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Deception, on the other hand, often suggests a quality or character in the thing which causes one to mistake it or frankly to take it as other than it really is
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the rising and the setting of the sun are pure deceptions

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Counterfeit applies to a close imitation or copy of a thing (as a coin, a banknote, or a bond) that depends upon pictorial devices or engraved designs for assurance of its genuineness; the term usually also implies the passing or circulation of such an imitation as if it were genuine
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the city is being flooded with counterfeits of five-dollar bills

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The term is also applicable to a thing or, less often, to a person that passes for something other than it actually or truly is
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his newly purchased painting by Raphael was proved to be a clever counterfeit

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she had the illusion that she was not really a married woman and a housemistress, but only a kind of counterfeitBennett

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Analogous words: *trick, ruse, feint, artifice, wile, stratagem, maneuver, gambit, ploy

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • imposture — [ ɛ̃pɔstyr ] n. f. • 1546; emposture 1190; bas lat. impostura 1 ♦ Vieilli Action de tromper par des discours mensongers, de fausses apparences. ⇒ mensonge, tromperie. « Mentir pour son avantage à soi même est imposture » (Rousseau). 2 ♦ Littér.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • imposture — Imposture. s. f. L S se prononce. Calomnie, ce que l on impute faussement à quelqu un dans le dessein de luy nuire. Imposture horrible, manifeste. grossiere imposture. imposture aisée à refuter. se justifier d une imposture. il est aisé de… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Imposture — Im*pos ture, n. [L. impostura: cf. F. imposture. See {Impone}.] The act or conduct of an impostor; deception practiced under a false or assumed character; fraud or imposition; cheating. [1913 Webster] From new legends And fill the world with… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imposture — (n.) act of willfully deceiving others, 1530s, from M.Fr. imposture, from L.L. impostura, from impostus (see IMPOST (Cf. impost)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • imposture — I noun cheat, chicane, counterfeit, craft, cunning, deceit, deception, dodge, duplicity, fake, fallacia, false conduct, forgery, fraud, fraudulence, fraus, guile, hoax, hollow pretense, imitation, knavery, pretense, ruse, sham, sleight,… …   Law dictionary

  • imposture — [n] fraud, trick artifice, cheat, con, copy, counterfeit, deceit, deception, fabrication, fake, feint, fiddle, flimflam*, forgery, gambit, hoax, hocus pocus*, illusion, imitation, impersonation, imposition, make believe, maneuver, masquerade,… …   New thesaurus

  • imposture — Imposture, Impostura, Fraus, Fallacia …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • imposture — ► NOUN ▪ an instance of assuming a false identity …   English terms dictionary

  • imposture — [im päs′chər] n. [Fr < LL impostura] the act or practice of an impostor; fraud; deception …   English World dictionary

  • Imposture — Une imposture consiste en l action délibérée de se faire passer pour ce qu on n est pas (quand on est un imposteur), ou de faire passer une chose pour ce qu elle n est pas (supercherie, mystification, escroquerie). La nature d une chose ou d une… …   Wikipédia en Français

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