- something that is not what it purports to be; a spurious imitation; fraud or hoax.
- a person who shams; shammer.
- a cover or the like for giving a thing a different outward appearance: a pillow sham.
- pretended; counterfeit; feigned: sham attacks; a sham Gothic façade.
- designed, made, or used as a sham.
verb (used with object), shammed, sham·ming.
- to produce an imitation of.
- to assume the appearance of; pretend to have: to sham illness.
verb (used without object), shammed, sham·ming.
- to make a false show of something; pretend.
- anything that is not what it purports or appears to be
- something false, fake, or fictitious that purports to be genuine
- a person who pretends to be something other than he is
- counterfeit or false; simulated
verb shams, shamming or shammed
- to falsely assume the appearance of (something); counterfeitto sham illness
n.1670s, “a trick, a hoax, a fraud,” also as a verb and an adjective, of uncertain origin; the words burst into use in 1677. Perhaps from sham, a northern dialectal variant of shame (n.); a derivation OED finds “not impossible.” Sense of “something meant to be mistaken for something else” is from 1728. The meaning “false front” in pillow-sham (1721) is from the notion of “counterfeit.” Related: Shammed; shamming; shammer. Shamateur “amateur sportsman who acts like a professional” is from 1896.