" false, a., adv., and n.
Forms: 1–7 fals, (3 Orm. falls, 4 falsse, 3–4 vals(e), 4–7 falce, (5 fauce, 6 falls, faulse, fawse), 8–9 Sc. fause, 7, 9 dial. fause, -sse, 3– false.
[late OE. fals adj. and n., ad. L. fals-us false (neut. fals-um, used subst. in sense fraud, falsehood), orig. pa. pple. of fallĕre to deceive; cf. ON. fals n. The adj. is found in OE. only in one doubtful instance (see sense 13); its frequent use begins in the 12th c., and was prob. due to a fresh adoption through the OF. fals, faus (mod.F. faux = Pr. fals, Sp., Pg., It. falso). The continental Teut. langs. adopted the word in an altered form: MHG. valsch. mod.G. falsch (cf. OHG. gifalscôn to falsify), OFris. falsch, Du. valsch, late Icel. (15th c.) falskr, Da., Sw. falsk. The etymological sense of L. falsus is ‘deceived, mistaken’ (of persons), ‘erroneous’ (of opinions, etc.). The transition to the active sense ‘deceitful’ is shown in phrases like falsa fides ‘breach of trust, faithlessness’, where the n. has a subjective and an objective sense. In mod.Eng. the sense ‘mendacious’ is so prominent that the word must often be avoided as discourteous in contexts where the etymological equivalent in other Teut. langs. or in Romanic would be quite unobjectionable. Some of the uses are adopted from Fr., and represent senses that never became English.]
A.A adj. I.A.I Erroneous, wrong.
1. a.A.I.1.a Of opinions, propositions, doctrines, representations: Contrary to what is true, erroneous.
c 1200 Ormin 10024 To trowwenn wrang o Godd þurrh þeȝȝre fallse lare. a 1225 Juliana 65 Forlore beo þu reue wið false bileaue. c 1380 Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 250 Falce undirstondinge of þe lawe of Crist. c 1384 Chaucer H. Fame iii. 982 Were the tydynge sothe or fals. c 1400 Lanfranc's Cirurg. 267 Summen seien þat a womman mai be cured for to kutte off al þe brest & þat is al fals. 1483 Caxton G. de la Tour E v b, Of whiche two sonnes cam first the paynyms and the fals lawe. 1551 T. Wilson Logike (1580) 3 To knitte true argumentes, and unknitte false. a 1568 R. Ascham Scholem. i. (Arb.) 81 Corrupt maners in liuinge, breede false iudgement in doctrine. 1592 Davies Immort. Soul xxxii. lv. (1714) 125 How can that be false, which every Tongue‥affirms for true? 1631–2 High Commission Cases (Camden) 228 This man is to be for his false doctrines‥sharply censured. 1652 Culpepper Eng. Physic. 107 [He] affirms that eating nuts causeth shortness of breath, than which nothing is falser. 1670 Narborough Jrnl. in Acc. Sev. Late Voy. i. (1711) 83 The Draughts are false‥for they do not make any mention of the several Islands. 1695 Dryden tr. Dufresnoy's Art Painting Pref. p. xxvi, The Persons, and Action of a Farce are all unnatural, and the Manners False. 1725 Watts Logic i. iii. §4. 66 When I see a strait staff appear crooked while it is half under the Water, I say, the Water gives me a false Idea of it. a 1797 Mason Hymn Wks. 1811 I. 467 Impious men, despise the sage decree, From vain deceit, and false philosophy. 1831 Brewster Newton (1855) II. xxiv. 358 False systems of religion have‥been deduced from the sacred record. 1848 Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 279 It may perhaps correct some false notions.
b.A.I.1.b Law. Of a judgement or verdict.
1634 Sanderson Serm. II. 293 In the courts of law‥false verdicts, false judgments. 1768 Blackstone Comm. III. 34 A writ also of false judgment lies to the courts at Westminster to rehear and review the cause. Ibid. 402 A jury of twelve men gave a false verdict.
c.A.I.1.c Arith. false position: the rule also called simply position, q.v.
2.A.I.2 Not according to correct rule or principle; wrong. a.A.I.2.a Gram. Now somewhat arch. exc. in false concord, a breach of any of the rules for the ‘agreement’ of words in a sentence; false quantity, an incorrect use of a long for a short vowel or syllable, or vice versâ.
1551 T. Wilson Logike (1580) 3 A Grammarian is better liked, that speaketh true & good Latine, than he yt speaketh false. 1580 Baret Alv. F 110 False verses, carmina vitiosa. 1588 Marprel. Epist. (Arb.) 38, I write false Englishe in this sentence. 1654 Whitlock Zootomia 450 In the Peoples Construing Booke, the Acts of those above them have alwayes some false Latine in them. 1709–10 Gibson in Lett. Lit. Men (Camden) 237 To‥correct the false spellings, &c. 1711 Addison Spect. No. 59 ⁋3 This Poet avoiding‥a false Quantity. 1837 Lockhart Scott lx, A false quantity which his [Scott's] generosity may almost be said to have made classical. 1872 F. Hall (title) Recent Exemplifications of False Philology.
b.A.I.2.b Music. Of a note: Not in tune, wrong in pitch, also fig. Also, false cadence (see quot. 1888). false fourth, false fifth, etc.: a fourth, fifth, etc. when not perfect. false intonation: (a) the production of an unnatural or improper quality of tone; (b) singing or playing out of tune. false relation: the separation of a chromatic semitone between two parts. Also, see quot. 1869. false string: a badly woven string, which produces an uncertain and untrue tone.
1592 Davies Immort. Soul xxxii. xvi. (1714) 115 If false Accords from her false Strings be sent. 1597 Morley Introd. Mus. 72 Shew me‥which be the true notes, and which false. 1626 Bacon Sylva §171 A Lute-String, if it be‥Unequall in his Parts‥we call False. 1674 Playford Skill Mus. iii. 35 The fifth yields a false fourth, and the sixth a false fifth. 1817 Byron Beppo xxxii, Some false note's detected flaw. 1830 Tennyson Poems 102 If ye sing not, if ye make false measure, We shall lose eternal pleasure. 1869 Ouseley Counterp. ii. 9 By a false relation is meant the simultaneous, or immediately successive, sounding of a note of the same name, but accidentally altered pitch. 1876 Academy 9 Sept. 253/1 The minutest‥examination [of an actress's part] will hardly discover a false note or a dropped stitch. 1888 Stainer & Barrett Dict. Mus. Terms 66 When the last chord of the phrase is other than the tonic chord and is preceded by that of the dominant, the cadence is said to be interrupted, false or deceptive. Ibid. 164 False or feigned music was that in which notes were altered by the use of accidentals. 1917 T. S. Eliot Prufrock 19 Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins.‥ That is at least one definite ‘false note’. 1932 Week-end Rev. 13 Aug. 188/2 This episode, with its rather sentimental sequel, seems to strike a false note in the story.
1715 J. Richardson Painting 134 If the Perspective is not just the Drawing of that Composition is false.
d.A.I.2.d Law. false imprisonment: the trespass committed against a person by imprisoning him contrary to law, or by any restrictive action or influence.
1386 Rolls Parlt. III. 225/1 The forsaid Nichol'‥destruyed the kynges trewe lyges‥bi false emprisonement. 1768 Blackstone Comm. III. viii. 127 To constitute the injury of false imprisonment there are two points requisite; 1. The detention of the person; and, 2. The unlawfulness of such detention. 1880 T. E. Holland Jurispr. xi. 111 A man has a right to go where he pleases,‥and anyone who prevents him from so doing, whether by constraint actually applied, or by such show of authority or force as has an effect on the will equivalent to actual constraint, is said in English law to be guilty of ‘false imprisonment’. 1891 Law Times' Rep. LXIII. 690/2 An action to recover damages for false imprisonment.
e.A.I.2.e Her. (See quots.)
1730–6 Bailey (folio), False Arms [in Heraldry] are those wherein the fundamental rules of the art are not observed. 1864 Boutell Heraldry Hist. & Pop. xii. 81 An Orle is blazoned as a ‘false escutcheon’, by the early Heralds. 1889 Elvin Dict. Her., An Annulet [is blazoned] as a False Roundel. A Cross voided, as a False Cross.
f.A.I.2.f Of a horse: (see quot.). false gallop: see gallop.
1833 Regul. Instr. Cavalry i. 56 In cantering to the right, a horse leading with the two near legs is ‘false’. 1884 E. L. Anderson Mod. Horsemanship vi. 27 If it [the horse] turn to the right when the left legs are taking the advanced steps, it is false in its gallop.
g.A.I.2.g Of a card: (see quot.).
1879 ‘Cavendish’ Card Ess. 163 A card [played] contrary to rule in order to take in the adversary‥is technically called a false card.
h.A.I.2.h false point (point n.1 C. 6): a mistaken act of pointing by a game-dog. Hence false-pointing vbl. n., false-point vb.
1954 Bannerman Birds Brit. Isles III. 214 Ring-ouzels‥possess an exceptionally strong scent. They are a frequent cause of ‘false point’ in gun-dogs‥a Border terrier often winding the sitting bird at a greater distance than he would a snipe or woodcock. 1960 Times 24 Sept. 9/1 On scenting game they [sc. setters] halt‥close enough‥to avoid ‘false-pointing’. 1965 P. Wayre Wind in Reeds iii. 38 The best of dogs can false-point.
3.A.I.3 Of a balance, measure: Not truly adjusted, incorrect. Also, Of play: Unfair. Of dice: Loaded so as to fall unfairly. †false point: a stroke of deceit; a trick.
c 1340 Cursor M. 27274 (Fairf.) Fals weȝt & mette againe þe lagh in lande is sette. c 1480 J. Watton Spec. Chr. 30 b, Usyng of fals weghts or mesuring. a 1529 Skelton Dyuers Balettys Wks. 1843 I. 26 Ware yet‥of Fortunes double cast, For one fals poynt she is wont to kepe in store. 1551 T. Wilson Logike (1580) 3 Those which plaie with false Dice, & would make other beleve yt thei are true. 1611 Bible Prov. xx. 23 A false ballance is not good. a 1631 Donne Poems (1633) 62 Men‥Who know false play, rather then lose, deceive. 1634 Sanderson Serm. II. 293 False weights, false measures, false thumbs‥in the markets and shops. 1781 Cowper Convers. 22 If it weigh the importance of a fly, The scales are false. 1812 Sporting Mag. XXXIX. 91 Causing two grooms to lose 15l. by false play. 1818 Byron Ch. Har. iv. xciii, All things weigh'd in custom's falsest scale.
4.A.I.4 Of shame, pride: Arising from mistaken notions.
1791 Mrs. Radcliffe Rom. Forest i, A false pride had still operated against his interest. 1802 M. Edgeworth Moral T. (1816) I. viii. 61 True and false shame.
5.A.I.5 false position (F. fausse position): a position which compels a person to act or appear in a manner inconsistent with his real character or aims.
1830 Q. Rev. Jan. 120 It [taking tithes in kind] places them [the clergy] in what the politicians call ‘a false position’, with respect to the community at large.
6.A.I.6 (to make) a false step (= Fr. faux pas): a misplaced step, a stumble; hence fig. an unwise or improper action; formerly spec. a woman's lapse from virtue. false start: a wrong start in a race; often transf. and fig.
1700 S. L. tr. Fryke's Voy. E. Ind. 207, I‥unfortunately made a false step, and tumbled down again into the Boat. 1709 Pope Ess. Crit. 602 False steps but help them to renew the race. 1756 Nugent Gr. Tour I. 114 Such young women as have made a false step. 1815 Racing Calendar 102 Industry‥was distanced by having been pulled up soon after starting, in consequence of a repeated cry of ‘false start’. 1823 F. Clissold Ascent Mont Blanc 20 A false step might have swept us below into an immense crevasse. 1850, etc. [see start n.2 5]. 1854 J. R. Planché Camp at Olympic 13 Because I fling your follies in your face, And call back all the false starts of your race. 1875 Jowett Plato (ed. 2) III. 231 If he has taken a false step he must be able to retrieve himself. 1957 G. Ryle in M. Black Importance of Lang. (1962) 149 It was a tragically false start.
7.A.I.7 Defective, not firm or solid. a.A.I.7.a Farriery. false quarter [= Fr. faux quartier]: (see quots.).
1523 Skelton Garl. Laurel 504 Some lokyd full smothely and had a fals quarter. 1614 Markham Cheap Husb. i. lv. (1668) 64 Infirmities of hoofs, as false quarters, loose hoofs. 1706 Phillips (ed. Kersey), False Quarter is a Rift‥seeming like a piece put in, and not all entire. 1879 J. Law Farmer's Vet. Adviser 379 False quarter‥is similar to a sand-crack in appearance but caused by‥destruction of the secreting structure at the top of the hoof.
1728 R. Morris Ess. Anc. Archit. 87 What a false Bearing, or rather what Bearing at all has it? 1876 Gwilt Archit. Gloss. s.v., Bearing wall or Partition‥when [the partition is] built in a transverse direction, or unsupported throughout its whole length, it is said to have a false bearing, or as many false bearings as there are intervals below the wall or partition.
II.A.II Mendacious, deceitful, treacherous. In senses 8–10 the phr. false as hell was formerly common.
8. a.A.II.8.a Of a statement: Purposely untrue; mendacious. Frequently in to bear (†speak) false witness: to testify falsely.
c 1175 Lamb. Hom. 13 Ne spec þu aȝein þine nexta nane false witnesse. c 1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 40/223 Betere is trewe dede þane fals word. a 1300 Cursor M. 26234 (Cott.) Fals wijtnes and trouth breking. c 1340 Ibid. 4635 (Trin.) He was prisounde wiþ fals reede. c 1374 Chaucer Troylus i. 593, I have‥for trew or fals report‥ilovede the al my lyve. 1377 Langl. P. Pl. B. ii. 80 To bakbite, and to bosten, and bere fals witnesse. a 1553 Udall Royster D. v. i, See that no false surmises thou me tell. 1611 Bible 2 Kings ix. 12 And they said, It is false. c 1630 Jackson Signs Time Wks. (1673) II. vi. 380 False-witness-bearing, and Coveting their Neighbours Goods, are far more rife amongst us than they were. 1639 Fuller Holy War iv. vi. (1647) 177 Afterwards this report was controlled to be false. 1678 Earl of Arran in Lauderdale Papers (1885) III. lxv. 100 He found all to be false as hell. 1813 Ld. Ellenborough in Ho. Lords 22 Mar., The accusation is as false as hell in every part! 1818 Scott Hrt. Midl. xxiii, She came to bear false witness in her sister's cause. 1833 Cruse Eusebius i. vii. 32 Neither of the gospels has made a false statement.
b.A.II.8.b Law. false issue, an issue introduced by counsel in order to conceal the real issue; false pretences, misrepresentations made to convey a false impression. Also false representation.
1757 Act 30 Geo. II c. 24 §1 All persons who knowingly and designedly, by false pretence or pretences, shall obtain‥money, goods, wares or merchandizes, with intent to‥defraud any person‥of the same. 1778 P. Thicknesse Year's Journey (ed. 2) I. iii. 32 He may indeed say‥that obtaining money by false pretences is better than forging. 1831 J. Banim Smuggler I. xi. 253 Made prisoners in it, upon false pretences. 1836 Mag. Dom. Econ. I. 92 Indictable for obtaining money under false pretences. 1858 False representation [see representation 4]. 1861 Act 24 & 25 Vict. c. 96 §88 It shall be sufficient in any Indictment for obtaining or attempting to obtain any such Property by false Pretences to allege that the Party accused did the Act with Intent to defraud, without alleging an Intent to defraud any particular Person. 1903 Westm. Gaz. 12 June 10/1 Mr. Robson: Then your lordship does not specify any false issues that you say I raised? His Lordship: The false issue you raised was whether or not the uncle was justified in going to the detective to find out the wife's residence instead of going to the father, and there were hours in the Divorce Court occupied upon that point. 1907 Daily Chron. 28 Aug., When charged he pleaded guilty to three charges of obtaining goods on false pretences. 1959 Jowitt Dict. Eng. Law I. 781/2 It is now practically immaterial whether a prisoner is indicted for false pretences or for larceny.
9.A.II.9 Of a person or his speech: Uttering or expressing what is untrue; mendacious. (In false prophet the sense varies between this and 13 b).
a 1225 Ancr. R. 68 Þat þe witnesse ne preoue heom ualse. c 1325 Metr. Hom. 99 Thai‥said that Crist was fals prophete. 1340 Hampole Pr. Consc. 3366 Sacrilege, and fals wittenessyng. c 1380 Wyclif Wks. (1880) 284 Falce gloseris maken goddis lawe derk. 1382 ― Mark xiii. 22 Fals Cristis and fals prophetis schulen ryse vp. 1545 Joye Exp. Dan. iii. 32 Dauid‥abhorreth soche false accusers. 1560 Bible (Genev.) Mal. iii. 5, I will be a swift witnes agaynst false swearers. 1611 Shakes. Wint. T. iii. ii. 32 Innocence shall make False Accusation blush. 1662 Stillingfl. Orig. Sacr. ii. v. §5 There may be false Prophets as well as true. 1687 Congreve Old Bach. iv. iii, My face is a false witness, and deserves to be pilloried. 1822–56 De Quincey Confess. Wks. 1890 III. 395 O just and righteous Opium! that to the chancery of dreams summonest, for the triumphs of despairing innocence, false witnesses.
10. a.A.II.10.a Of persons, their attributes or actions: Deceitful, treacherous, faithless. Formerly often pleonastically, expressing detestation, with ns. like traitor, treason (now only arch.). Const. †of, to, †unto.
c 1205 Lay. 31422 Þa rad forð a þan felde falsest alre kinge. a 1225 Ancr. R. 128 Ase vox is best falsest. c 1230 Hali Meid. 15 Þah þi fleschliche wil fals beo. 1297 R. Glouc. (1724) 385 Þys false byssop Ode. a 1300 Cursor M. 11530 (Cott.) He was traitur, fals in fai. c 1489 Caxton Sonnes of Aymon xxvi. 565 Now are deed the sones of foulques of moryllon by theyr false wyt. a 1533 Ld. Berners Huon lxxxvii. 275 This Angelars was false and a traytoure. 1559 Mirr. Mag., Dk. Suffolk xix, My dedes‥Wer shortly after treasons false estemed. 1590 Marlowe Edw. II, ii. iii, Never was Plantagenet False of his word. 1591 Shakes. Two Gent. iv. iv. 141 Though his false finger haue prophan'd the Ring. 1663–72 Wood Life (Oxf. Hist. Soc.) I. 471 False to his trust. 1676 South Serm. Worldly Wisdom (1737) I. ix. 349 False as hell, and cruel as the grave. 1709 Steele Tatler No. 105 ⁋3 She had been false to his Bed. 1742 Pope Dunc. iv. 93 They‥false to Phœbus, bow the knee to Baal. 1794 Song ‘Stay, my Willie’ in Burns' Wks. (1857) IV. 117 When this heart proves fause to thee. 1815 Scott Guy M. i, ‘Get up, ye fause loon.’ 1855 Macaulay Hist. Eng. IV. 231 He might be false to his country, but not to his flag. 1865 Dickens Mut. Fr. i. ii, I banish the false wretch.
†b.A.II.10.b transf. Of ground, a foundation, etc.: Treacherous, insecure. Obs.
1590 Spenser F.Q. i. xi. 54 An huge rocky clifft, Whose false foundacion waves have wash't away. 1697 Dryden Virg. Past. iii. 147 Graze not too near the Banks, my jolly Sheep, The Ground is false. 1692 R. L'Estrange Fables liv. 55 The Heart of Man is like a Bog, it looks Fair to the Eye, but when we come to lay any Weight upon't, the Ground is False under us.
†11.A.II.11 false trust: breach of trust [= L. falsa fides, where falsa is merely pple.]. Obs. rare.
1649 Bp. Hall Cases Consc. i. vii. 71 The‥goods miscarried, either by robbery or false trust.
12. a.A.II.12.a Of things, indications, appearances: Fallacious, deceptive. Of a medium of vision: That distorts the object looked at; so in †false glass, false mirror, false spectacles. false colour (fig.): cf. colour n. 2 d, 12, 13.
1531 [see colour n. 2 d]. 1580 Baret Alv. F 111 A false glasse, speculum mendax. 1605 Bp. Hall Medit. & Vows ii. §79 When they wil needs have a sight of their own actions, it showes them a false glasse to looke in. 1641 J. Jackson True Evang. T. ii. 146 The Devill makes us false spectacles. 1658 L. Womock Exam. Tilenus A, You seem to magnifie the riches of the divine Grace: but when we come strictly to examine it, 'tis by a false glass. 1734 Pope Ess. Man iv. 392 Wit's false mirror held up Nature's light; Shew'd erring Pride. 1768 Blackstone Comm. III. 391 The true import of the evidence is duly weighed, false colours are taken off. 1848 Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 173 Looking on all that passed at home‥through a false medium. 1855 Bain Senses & Int. ii. iii. §7 So false is the appetite for sleep, that [etc.].
†b.A.II.12.b false door, false postern (= F. fausse porte): a secret door or postern. Obs.
c 1489 Caxton Sonnes of Aymon viii. 190 Yf ye doo assaille the castell, they shall yssue oute at the fauce posternes. 1552 Huloet, Ffalse posterne or backe dore. 1627 R. Ashley Almansor 44 King Almansor entered sometimes into this Hospitall by a false doore. 1768 J. Byron Narr. Patagonia (ed. 2) 237 They have a false door to the alcove.
III.A.III Spurious, not genuine.
13.A.III.13 Counterfeit, simulated, sham. a.A.III.13.a Of things, esp. of metal, money, jewels: Counterfeit, spurious. Of a document: Forged.
c 1000 Voc. in Wr.-Wülcker 183 Paracaraximus, fals pening [Possibly a compound of the noun, like ON. falspeningr]. a 1225 Ancr. R. 182 False gold vorwurðeð þerinne [fure]. a 1300 Cursor M. 28395 (Cott.) A-mang myn oþer wark vn-lele haf i oft forged fals sele. 1340 Ayenb. 26 Of guod metal hy makeþ uales moneye. c 1400 Lanfranc's Cirurg. 293 Þou schalt‥do awei al medicyns þat ben false. 1558 W. Towrson in Hakluyt Voy. (1589) 121 The suspition which we gathered of their false charter parties. 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 121 The wreits‥can not prove against him, because they are fals. 1649 Bp. Hall Cases Consc. i. vii. 64 Criples that pretend false soares. 1730–6 Bailey (folio), False Diamond, one that is counterfeited with glass. 1856 Ruskin Mod. Paint. III. iv. iii. §12 note, An artificial rose is not a ‘false’ rose, it is not a rose at all. 1867 Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. 288 False Papers frequently carried by slavers and smugglers. 1885 Catholic Dict. s.v., False decretals, the collection ostensibly made by Isidorus Mercator, in the middle of the ninth century.
b.A.III.13.b Prefixed to personal designations: Pretended, that is not really such; esp. in false god, false prophet.
a 1175 Cott. Hom. 237 Þurh false godes þe ælc þiode ham selfe macede. c 1200 Trin. Coll. Hom. 83 Þese ben false cristene. c 1250 Meid. Maregrete iii, He levede on þe false godes. 1382 Wyclif Baruch vi. 58 It is beter a kyng for to be schewynge‥a profitable vesselle‥than fals goddis [1560 Bible (Genev.) ibid., Then such false gods]. 1552 Huloet, Ffalse messenger‥ffalse prophet. 1870 (title), False Heir and other Choice Stories for the Young.
c.A.III.13.c with the name of an author: = ‘Pseudo-’.
1868 Freeman Norm. Conq. II. 629 The false Ingulf.
d.A.III.13.d Of hair, teeth, etc.: Artificially made or adapted. Also false eyelashes, false nose, and in more general sense.
1591 Percivall Sp. Dict., Cabelléra, a false heare, or peruke. 1634 Sir T. Herbert Trav. 168 Hired women, who for five houres space‥howle bitterly, teare their false haire [etc.]. 1795 E. Wynne Diary 31 Dec. (1937) II. 59 The poor Man has a dozen false teeth in his mouth. 1817 Byron Beppo lxvi, One has false curls. 1836 Dickens Sk. Boz I. 329 Gentlemen‥with‥false noses. 1873 Young Englishwoman Oct. 518/2 Will the Editor kindly say if there is anything revolting in wearing false teeth? 1885 Pall Mall G. 16 Apr. 3/2 The false teeth are nothing but animal teeth attached to the human teeth by means of small gold plates. 1902 Encycl. Brit. XXXII. 605/1 Where pheasants exist in any number, a ‘false covert’ of spruce and fir loppings should be made at the point to which it is desirable to force the birds. 1939 L. MacNeice Autumn Jrnl. xv. 57 False eyelashes and finger-nails of carmine. 1954 ― Autumn Sequel xxiii. 141 That Christmas should be white Is something we go on with, like false noses.
e.A.III.13.e false face: a mask. Also, a deceiver, a hypocrite.
1818 Scott Rob Roy ix, His fause-face slipped aside. 1833 M. Scott Tom Cringle xi. (1859) 248 A white false-face or mask of a most methodistical expression. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xxv. 104 That false-face, Prestongrange; I think shame to own to you that I was ever trusting to a lawyer.
f.A.III.13.f false key: a skeleton key, picklock.
1701 Lond. Gaz. No. 3708/3 A false Key, and a Steel, were left by the said Murderers. 1833 J. Holland Manuf. Metal II. 267 False keys, and all other counterfeit means of opening locks.
g.A.III.13.g Of attributes or actions: Feigned, counterfeited, spurious.
c 1600 Shakes. Sonn. lxxii, Least your true loue may seeme falce. 1697 Dryden Virg. Æneid ii. 197 False tears true pity move. 1709 Pope Ess. Crit. 25 So by false learning is good sense debased.
h.A.III.13.h Law. false action = ‘feigned action’: see feigned. false plea = sham plea.
1706 Phillips (ed. Kersey), False Action = Faint Action. 1848 Wharton Law Lex. 246/2 False plea.
i.A.III.13.i Photogr. false image: an extra image made on the plate by a defective lens at the same time as the image proper.
1892 Photogr. Ann. II. 39 Another troublesome fault is what is called a ghost, or false image. 1918 Photo-Miniature XV. Mar. (Gloss.), False Image, an extra image, usually unsharp and often inverted, which a defective (doublet) lens will give on the plate at the same time as the image proper.
14. a.A.III.14.a Nav. and Mil. Counterfeited for the purpose of deception; feigned, pretended; as in false attack, false lights, false ports, false signal. Also in phrases (often fig.), †to show false colours, under false colour(s (see colour n. 6 b); to hang out false colours (see colour n. 7 d).
c 1400 Fals colour [see colour n. 6 b]. 1677 Lond. Gaz. No. 1179/2 One towards Mount Azine, which some look upon to be only a false Attack. 1697 W. Dampier Voy. (1698) I. 252 Had we enter'd the Port upon the false signal, we must have been taken or sunk. 1765–93 Blackstone Comm. i. (ed. 12) 294 Putting out false lights in order to bring any vessel into danger. 1769 Falconer Dict. Marine, Faux sabords, false ports, painted in a ship's side, to deceive an enemy. 1784 F. Burney Diary 30 Dec., A letter‥which seems to shew her gay and happy. I hope it shows not false colours. 1809 Roland Fencing 102 Various small motions made without longing, are termed false attacks. 1853 Stocqueler Mil. Dict. 25/2 False attack, a feigned or secondary movement in the arrangements of an assault, intended to divert the attention of an enemy from the real or principal attack. 1867 Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. 288 To sail under false colours‥is an allowable stratagem of war. 1874 Morley Compromise (1886) 172 If men go through society before marriage under false colours.
b.A.III.14.b false fire: †(a) a blank discharge of firearms (obs.); (b) a fire made to deceive an enemy, or as a night-signal.
1633 T. James Voy. 26 We shot and made false fires. 1642 Sir E. Dering Sp. on Relig. xvi. 86 Artillery men, though‥nimble with false fires, are not immediately compleated into true-Souldiers. 1711 A. Duncan Mariner's Chron. (1805) III. 289 Night coming on we lost sight of our consort, and made several false fires. 1720 De Foe Capt. Singleton viii. (1840) 140 We made false fire with any gun that was uncharged, and they would walk off as soon as they saw the flash. 1805 Nelson in Nicolas Disp. (1846) VII. 57 We have found the comfort of blue lights and false fires in the Mediterranean. 1853 Stocqueler Mil. Dict. 101/2 When an army is about to retire from a position during the night, false fires are lighted in different parts of the encampment to impose upon the enemy's vigilance.
c.A.III.14.c false alarm: an alarm without foundation, given either purposely to deceive or under misapprehension of danger. Now often transf. or gen.
1579 Gosson Sch. Abuse 32 That is a vain brag, & a false alarme. 1594 [see alarm n. 8]. 1770 Johnson False Alarm 3 One of the chief advantages derived by the present generation from the improvement and diffusion of Philosophy, is‥exemption from false alarms. 1802 C. James Milit. Dict. s.v. Alarm, False-Alarms, are strategems of war, frequently made use of to harrass an enemy, by keeping them perpetually under arms. 1834 tr. Jacquemont's Journ. India I. 214 My pistols and watch were almost in his way; but, disturbed‥by some noise or false alarm, he had not time to choose. 1847 A. Brontë Agnes Grey xvii, There was ‘no need to be in such agitation about the matter—it might prove a false alarm after all’. 1873 Gentl. Mag. X. 587 The false alarm‥was made the occasion of a discussion‥, which ended in the Lord Mayor advising his civic brethren to wait and see. 1900 Daily News 7 Dec. 3/2 Any day the giving of a false alarm might cause the deaths of persons endangered by fire, and whom the Brigade did not reach in time. 1931 H. Mutschmann Gloss. Americanisms 22/1 False Alarm, a divorced woman.
15.A.III.15 Improperly so called. (Prefixed, like quasi- or pseudo-, to form names of things bearing a deceptive resemblance to those properly denoted by the n.) a.A.III.15.a in various sciences and technical uses: see quots.
1594 False ribbes [see bastard a. 5 c]. 1741 A. Monro Anat. Bones (ed. 3) 222 The Five inferior of each Side are the False [Ribs]. 1774 Goldsm. Nat. Hist. (1776) IV. 245 Immediately on quitting the real womb, they creep into the false one. 1776 Seiferth tr. Gellert's Metal. Chym. 14 It [Yellow Quartz] is called‥after its colour‥false topaz. 1807–26 S. Cooper First Lines Surg. (ed. 5) 248 When all the coats of an artery are wounded, ruptured, or perforated by ulceration, the tumour is called a false aneurism. 1833 Lyell Princ. Geol. III. 175 This diagonal arrangement of the layers, sometimes called ‘false stratification’. 1854 Poultry Chron. I. 488 On inspecting the windpipe from the root of the tongue, I found congestion and swelling of the glottis and rima glottidis, but no false membrane such as I should have found in a child. 1866 Treas. Bot., False bark, that layer on the outside of the stem of an Endogen, which consists of cellular tissue into which fibrous tissue passes obliquely. 1869 J. R. S. Clifford in Eng. Mech. 24 Dec. 3457 At the sixth [segment] we come to what have been called the ‘false legs’ [of caterpillars]. 1873 T. H. Green Introd. Pathol. (ed. 2) 265 In croup the exuded materials coagulate principally upon the surface of the membrane, where, together with the newly-formed cellular elements, they form the false membrane. 1880 Encycl. Brit. XII. 180/2 Immediately within the opening of the nostril [of a horse], the respiratory canal sends off on its upper and outer side a diverticulum or blind pouch (called ‘false nostril’) of a conical form. 1881 Mivart Cat viii. 229 The superior or false vocal cords. 1882 Caulfeild & Saward Dict. Needlew., False hem, this is applied to a fold-over at the extreme edge of any portion of dress or other article‥which has the appearance of a hem‥but is not one. 1883 Man. Seamanship for Boys 97 Cardinal Points.‥ False Points. So called because they borrow their names from the two points between which they come. 1883 Encycl. Brit. XV. 235/2 Such a point is called a false north pole, and we see that the existence of two true north poles necessitates the existence of a false north pole. 1886 Ibid. XXI. 404/2 These portions go on growing in a direction at an angle with the previous one, but still in contact, and thus produce the ‘false-branching’ to which the Cladothrix owes its name. 1888 Lockwood's Dict. Mech. Engin. s.v. False Water, When steam is generated very rapidly in a boiler, the immediate effect is a rapid rising of the water level in the gauge cocks, due to the increase in volume caused by admixture of steam. This sudden increase is termed false water. 1890 G. H. Williams Crystallography 212 False planes, apparent crystal faces, whose position is not that of true crystal planes, may be produced by oscillatory combination. 1902 Encycl. Brit. XXXIII. 99/2 False Station. ― When the theodolite cannot for any reason be placed over the centre of a station, if the distance be measured, and the theodolite reading of it be noted, the observed angles may be reduced to what they would be at the centre of the station. False stations have frequently to be made in practice. 1932 D. C. Minter Mod. Needlecraft 132 False hem machined on. 1948 New Biol. V. 14 Colonies such as those of Gloeotrichia and Rivularia originate by a process known as false branching, in which one part grows out at a break in the filament. 1960 B. Snook Eng. Hist. Embroidery 106 False quilting, worked through two thicknesses of fabric without padding, was also used.
b.A.III.15.b in popular or literary names of plants (sometimes rendering mod.L. names formed with pseudo-).
1578 False Rewbarbes [see bastard a. 5 b]. 1597 Gerarde Herbal Index, False Mercurie. 1854 Thoreau Walden (1937) 182 The celtis occidentalis, or false elm. 1861 Miss Pratt Flower. Pl. VI. 50 False Brome-grass. 1861 Chambers' Encycl. s.v. Bottle-gourd, The common bottle-gourd, or false calabash, is a native of India. Ibid. s.v. Locust Tree, The locust-tree of America is also called the false acacia, or thorn acacia. 1878–86 Britten & Holland Plant-n., False Parsley. 1940 E. Step Wayside &c. Trees 23 The Sycamore, Great Maple, or False Plane (Acer pseudoplatanus).
†c.A.III.15.c false nail: ? = agnail 3. Obs.
1818 Art Preserv. Feet 335 False nails‥arise from a want of due attention to the parts surrounding the nail.
d.A.III.15.d Phys. false conception: a spurious conception, in which a shapeless mass is produced instead of a fœtus.
1611 Donne Anat. World sig. B4v, And false-conceptions fill the generall wombs. 1662 R. Mathew Unl. Alch. §87. 121 It‥brought from her an abortive or false conception. 1697 Dryden Virg. Georg. iii. 441 They shed A slimy Juice, by false Conception bred. 1889 Wagstaffe Mayne's Med. Voc. 94 False Conception, an imperfect impregnation or blighted ovum.
e.A.III.15.e false grain: a fresh crop of small sugar crystals formed during the process of sugar manufacture when syrup is introduced into the crystallizing pans in order to increase the size of the crystals already formed.
1900 S. P. Sadtler Hand-bk. Industr. Org. Chem. (ed. 3) 132 The process of admitting successive portions of fresh syrup after the ‘grain’ has once formed is used in the development of large crystals. It must be used with judgment though, or the new syrup starts a new set of minute crystals, making what is called ‘false grain’. 1959 Chambers's Encycl. V. 200/2 If more sugar is held in the solution than that given by the super-solubility curve, a fresh crop of nuclei or a ‘false grain’ will result.
f.A.III.15.f false killer, a name of the whale, Pseudorca crassidens, which partly resembles the killer (sense 2); false scorpion = pseudo-scorpion (pseudo- 2).
1875 Encycl. Brit. II. 281/2 The impression inevitably created on a comparison of the true and false scorpions is that the latter are little scorpions without tails. 1937 Norman & Fraser Giant Fishes, Whales & Dolphins ii. xiii. 294 In the genus Pseudorca‥there is only one species admitted, P. crassidens, the False Killer Whale. It is nearly related to the true Killer, but many external differences distinguish the two forms from each other. 1949 Oxf. Jun. Encycl. II. 140/1 False Scorpions owe their name to the possession of a pair of large, claw-like ‘pedipalpi’ or specialized feelers, like those of the Scorpions; but they lack the Scorpion's tail and sting. 1959 A. Hardy Fish & Fisheries xv. 288 The false killer, Pseudorca crassidens, is entirely black and might perhaps be mistaken for the pilot whale.
16.A.III.16 †a.A.III.16.a false colour: in water-colour painting, a lighter tint of any of the recognized colours (obs.). b.A.III.16.b false dyes, false colours (= Fr. teint faux): fugitive as opposed to permanent dyes.
1573 Art of Limning 4 Azure or Byze. His false coloure, Two parts azure and one of cereuse. Ibid. 11 Lay‥First thy false colours and after thy sadd. 1816 J. Smith Panorama Sc. & Art II. 527 Dyes of the second class, are called false or little dyes. 1842 J. Bischoff Woollen Manuf. II. iii. 80 Two branches, namely, that of permanent colours, and that of false or fugitive colours.
c.A.III.16.c false dawn, false morning, false sunrise [tr. Arab. ṣubḥ kāḏib]: a transient light which precedes the true dawn by about an hour, a phenomenon common in the East. Also fig.
1832 J. Morier Zohrab i. 6 Do tell me‥whether that be the dawn or the false dawn? 1868 E. Fitzgerald Omar (ed. 2) ii. 1 Before the phantom of False morning died. 1879 E. Arnold Lt. Asia v. 112 Then slept he‥But rose e'er the False-Dawn. 1924 E. Wharton (title) Old New York. False Dawn. 1928 Daily Express 23 Aug. 8/3 A flickering false-sunrise. 1946 K. Tennant Lost Haven (1947) i. 29 When the false dawn came, it was a pale thing compared to the moon-light. 1963 Times 16 Jan. 3/3 We are thus back to where we were before the excitement of Melbourne and the optimism of the week that followed. That seems now like a false dawn.
17.A.III.17 (Chiefly Mech.) Subsidiary, supplementary; substituted for or serving to supplement the thing properly or chiefly denoted by the name. a.A.III.17.a false bottom: a horizontal partition in a vessel; also, a partition built close to the bottom, as in a box or trunk. Also in Mining and Metallurgy (see quot. 1881). false core (see core n.1 8).
1596 Harington Metam. Ajax (1814) 117 You shall make a false bottom to that privy that you are annoyed with—either of lead or stone. 1626 Bacon Sylva (1627) v. 127 Take a Vessel, and‥make a false Bottom of course Canvasse. 1641 French Distill. i. (1651) 5 A false bottom where the Quick⁓silver must lye. 1800 M. Edgeworth Parent's Assist. (ed. 3) III. 132 This box has a false bottom—it holds only three quarters as much as it ought to do. 1823 J. Badcock Dom. Amusem. 146 Each vat is to have a false bottom, made with cross bars, or stout wicker work. 1843 C. & J. Holtzapffel Turning I. 338 The term false-core is employed by the brass founder to express the same thing as the drawback of the iron founder. The former calls every loose piece of the mould not intended for holes, a false core. 1875 [see core n.1 8]. 1881 D. C. Davies Metall. Min. & Mining 413 False Bottom‥a loose plate put into the stamp box; a floor of iron placed in a puddling machine; a bed of drift holding auriferous drift, and overlying the bed of the latter that usually lies on the bed rock. 1907 McWilliam & Longmuir Gen. Foundry Practice xii. 95 In light work these removable parts of a mould are termed ‘false cores’, and in heavy work ‘drawbacks’. 1933 McLachlan & Otto in W. J. Kearton Engin. Educator (ed. 2) II. 606/2 Part of a mould forming an internal shape, whether loose or not, is usually referred to as a ‘cod’, while a loose part of a mould forming some external part of it, is generally referred to as a ‘false-core’ or‘drawback’.
b.A.III.17.b Shipbuilding. Of things temporarily attached to the real or true part to assist or protect it, as in false keel, false keelson, false post, false rail, false stay, false stem, false stern, false stern-post. Also in false deck, a grating or the like supported above the main deck by the ‘close fights’.
1626 Capt. Smith Accid. Yng. Seamen 14 A grating, netting or false decke for your close fights. 1627 ― Seaman's Gram. xi. 53 Another keele vnder the first‥wee call a false Keele. Ibid., Fix another stem before it [the stem], and that is called a false stem. 1709 Lond. Gaz. No. 4521/2 Having our‥Back-stays cut to pieces; as also our Main and False⁓stay. 1769 Falconer Dict. Marine (1789) C iv b, The false post‥serves to augment the breadth of the stern-post. c 1850 Rudim. Navig. (Weale) 117 False keel. Ibid., False rail, a rail fayed down upon the upper side of the main, or upper rail of the head. 1860 Smyth Sailor's Word-bk., False kelson or Kelson Rider.
1875 ‘Stonehenge’ Brit. Sports i. i. xi. §2. 33 The false⁓breech is cut away more than I like it. 1880 Encycl. Brit. XI. 280/1 A pair of barrels‥abutting against a false breech. 1881 Greener Gun 262 A false pin is screwed into the lever, which, when removed, will leave an aperture through which the breech-pin must be extracted.
d.A.III.17.d Arch. in false pillar, false roof (see quots.). false ceiling, a dummy ceiling fixed below the genuine one (e.g. to accommodate wires, conduits, etc.).
1552 Huloet, Ffalse roufe of a chambre, house, seller, or vault. 1611 Perkins Cases Consc. (1619) 143 The other which was most outward, and lesse weightie might be vpholden by lesser proppes, which Artificers in that kind call by the name of false-pillars. 1849–50 Weale Dict. Terms, False roof, the space between the ceiling and the roof above it. 1870 Brewer Dict. Phr. & Fable 285/2 False ceiling, the space between the garret ceiling and the roof. 1874 J. T. Micklethwaite Mod. Par. Churches 213 The main pipes should‥be in the false roof. 1937 Archit. Rev. LXXXI. 63 (caption) The entrance hall from the living room, showing again the curved screen wall with its false ceiling.
†1.B.1 Untruly. With to speak, swear. Obs. or arch.
1303 R. Brunne Handl. Synne 776 Ȝyf þou euere swore‥ Yn any tyme fals or wykkedly. c 1380 Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 345 Whanne Petre‥swore fals for a wommans vois. a 1400–50 Alexander 298 Þar haue þai fals spoken. 1613 Shakes. Hen. VIII, ii. iv. 136 Let him in naught be trusted, For speaking false in that. 1621 Lady M. Wroth Urania 202 He vow'd, nothing should make him answere false.
2.B.2 Improperly, wrongly. Of an arrow's flight: In the wrong direction; erringly. Of music: Out of tune, incorrectly. Obs. or arch.
1591 Shakes. Two Gent. iv. ii. 59 The Musitian‥plaies false‥So false that he grieues my very heart-strings. 1596 ― 1 Hen. IV, i. ii. 74 Thou judgest false. 1608 ― Per. i. i. 124 If it be true that I interpret false. 1815 Moore Lalla R. (1824) 139 False flew the shaft, though pointed well.
3.B.3 Faithlessly, perfidiously. Chiefly in to play (a person) false: to cheat in play; fig. to betray.
1590 Shakes. Com. Err. ii. ii. 144 If‥thou play false, I doe digest the poison of thy flesh. 1593 ― 2 Hen. VI, iii. i. 184 Beshrew the winners, for they play'd me false. 1596 ― Merch. V. i. ii. 48 His mother plaid false with a Smyth. 1611 ― Cymb. iii. iv. 117 Mine eare Therein false strooke, can take no greater wound. 1825 A. W. Fonblanque in Westm. Rev. IV. 402 Sheridan played false to his political friends on this occasion. a 1859 Macaulay Hist. Eng. (1872) V. xxiv. 24 They had their fears that Lewis might be playing false.
†1.C.1 Fraud, falsehood, treachery. In early use esp. counterfeiting (of coin), forgery. Obs.
c 1000 Ælfric Gen. xliv. 7 Hwi tihþ ure hlaford us swa micles falses? a 1016 Laws of Æthelred vi. §32 Þæt an mynet gange ofer ealle þas þeode buton ælcon false. 1154 O.E. Chron. an. 1124 Hi hafden fordon eall þæt land mid here micele fals. c 1200 Ormin 7334 Crist forrwerrpeþþ falls & flærd. c 1300 Cursor M. 19254 (Edin.) Þu leies‥and aȝte haue wand wiþ fals þe hali gaste to fand. a 1375 Joseph Arim. 208 Wiþ-outen faute oþ er faus. c 1400 Destr. Troy 8109 Now art þou trewly hor traitour, & tainted for fals!
2.C.2 One who or that which is false. †a.C.2.a ellipt. for ‘false person’. Obs.
a 1300 Cursor M. 4412 (Cott.) Ioseph‥þat suikeful fals, þat fole lichour. c 1340 Ibid. 17473 (Trin.) Alle false shul fare on þat wise. c 1400 Destr. Troy 12355 Eneas‥wold haue dungyn hym to deth, & deiret þe fals.
†b.C.2.b What is false; falsehood. Obs. exc. as absol. use of the adj.
c 1380 Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 345 Men moten‥take ofte fals as bileve. a 1592 Greene Jas. IV (1861) 213 Such reports more false than truth contain. 1603 Shakes. Meas. for M. ii. iv. 170 My false, ore-weighs your true. a 1680 Butler Rem. (1759) I. 224 Science‥Conveys, and counterchanges true and false. 1812 Sir H. Davy Chem. Philos. 13 Truths‥were blended with the false.
c.C.2.c Something that is false; untruth; false appearance. Obs. exc. arch.
1584 T. Bastard Chrestoleros, He‥hath put a false upon thy face. 1786 tr. Swedenborg's Chr. Relig. §273 His Understanding is full of Falses. 1884 Tennyson Becket iii. iii, Earth's falses are heaven's truths.
†3.C.3 Fencing. = feint. Obs.
1637 Nabbes Microcosm. in Dodsley O. Plays IX. 122 Mar's fencing school, where I learn'd a mystery that consists in‥thrusts, falses, doubles.
1.D.1 Of the adj.: a.D.1.a With agent-nouns forming ns., as false-buller, false-coiner; †false writer, (a) one who writes incorrectly; (b) a forger. Also (not with agent-noun); false-innocence (also false-innocent adj.) cf. faux-naïf n. and a.
a 1300 Cursor M. 29306 (Cott.) Fals bullers [see false v. 1]. 1440 Promp. Parv. 148 False wryter, plastographus. 1580 Baret Alv. F 109 A false writer‥mendosus scriptor. Ibid., A false coiner, adulterator monetæ.
1928 D. H. Lawrence Woman who rode Away 272 Her eyes especially were warm and naïve and false-innocent. 1938 R. Graves Coll. Poems 187 Their false-innocence assaulting her, Breaching her hard heart.
b.D.1.b With pa. pples., forming adjs. chiefly parasynthetic, as false-biased, false-bottomed, false-eyed, false-faced, false-faithed, false-fingered, false-fronted, false-grounded, false-hearted (whence false-heartedness), false-necked, false-principled, false-tongued, false-visored.
1654 Whitlock Zootomia 450 For our Equalls, what they say or do‥what is good, we make Casuall, or *false Byassed.
1654 H. L'Estrange Chas. I (1655) 25 You have‥upon *false-bottomed suggestions endeavoured to distain his [the king's]‥honour.
1645 Quarles Sol. Recant. 55 Then banish *fals-ey'd mirth.
1607 Shakes. Cor. i. ix. 44 Let Courts and Cities be Made all of *false-fac'd soothing. a 1959 E. Muir Coll. Poems (1960) 291 But why was our old friend Everyman Among this false-faced company?
1601 Chester Love's Mart. cv. (1878) 71 *False-faithed Scotland.
1648 Goodwin Youngl. Eld. Ess. 4 *Fals-fingered men.
1889 A. R. Hope in Boy's Own Paper 3 Aug. 697/2 The *false-fronted frump.
1649 Roberts Clavis Bibl. 341 His confutation, of their *false-grounded opinion.
1571 Golding Calvin on Ps. lv. 21 Ye *falseharted folk bear in their mouth hony dipped in poison. 1685 Baxter Paraphr. N.T. Matt. xii. 39 A false-hearted People that will not be convinced by Miracles. 1847 Emerson Poems, To Rhea Wks. (Bohn) I. 402 When love has once departed From the eyes of the false-hearted.
1571 Golding Calvin on Ps. xli. 7 To utter the *falsehartednesse assoone as they come out of the doores. 1889 The Voice (N.Y.) 16 May, The‥false heartedness of the temperance Republicans.
1892 Academy 24 Sept. 270 *False-necked vases are represented in the tomb of Ramessu III.
1837 H. Martineau Soc. Amer. III. 94 The brand of contempt should be fixed upon any‥*false principled style of manners.
1910 W. de la Mare Three Mulla-Mulgars 41 Oh, these *false-tongued Mulgars!
1563 Foxe A. & M. 1355/2 The dark and *falseuisured kingdom of Antichrist.
2.D.2 Of the adv.: a.D.2.a With pr. pples., forming adjs., as false-boding, false-creeping, false-glozing (see glozing), false-judging, false-lying, false-persuading, false-speaking, false-warbling; with vbl. ns., forming ns., as false-contracting, false-dealing, false-enditing, false speaking, false-promising, false-writing.
1594 Shakes. Rich. III, i. iii. 247 *False boding Woman, end thy frantick Curse.
1598 Sylvester Du Bartas ii. i. iii. Furies 746 Theeving, *False-contracting, Church⁓chaffering [etc.].
1593 Shakes. Lucr. 1517 Jealousy itself could not mistrust *False-creeping craft.
1702 C. Mather Magn. Chr. i. ii. (1852) 51 This *false-dealing proved a safe-dealing for the good people.
c 1480 J. Watton Spec. Chr. 30 b, *Fals Enditing.
1633 G. Herbert Temple, Dotage i, *False glozing pleasures. 1686 South Serm. (1737) II. ix. 347 A false glossing parasite would‥call his fool-hardiness valour.
1839 Hallam Hist. Lit. viii. i. §50 A very *false-judging pedantry.
1562 Turner Herbal ii. 70 b, A *falslying good lesse man.
1682 Otway Venice Preserved iv. i. 56 Thanks to thy tears and *false perswading love.
1684 ― Atheist i. i, There's‥*False-promising at Court.
c 1600 Shakes. Sonn. cxxxviii, Simply I credit her *false⁓speaking tongue. 1884 tr. Lotze's Logic 286 False-speaking is wrong in itself.
1728–46 Thomson Spring 992 *False⁓warbling in his cheated ear.
b.D.2.b With pa. pples., forming adjs., as false-derived, false-fed, false-found, false-gotten, false-imagined, false-persuaded, false-pretended, false-purchased, false-spoken, false-sworn, false-tinctured, false-whited, false-termed, false-written.
1597 Shakes. 2 Hen. IV, iv. i. 190 Euery‥*false-deriued Cause.
1680 H. More Apocal. Apoc. 69 They shall not be *false-fed‥by deceitful Teachers.
a 1558 Q. Mary in Foxe A. & M. (1684) III. 14 Seditions have been nourished‥by printing of *false found books.
1460 in Pol. Rel. & L. Poems (1866) 260 *Fals goten good.
c 1625 Milton Death Fair Infant 72 Her *false-imagined loss cease to lament!
1605 Shakes. Lear i. iv. 254 (Qo.), I should be *false persuaded I had daughters.
1553 Bale Gardiner's De vera Obed. Pref. B v, *False pretended supremacie.
1530 Form Greater Excommun. in Maskell Mon. Rit. II. 299 All tho ben acursed‥that use wytingly suche *false purchased letters.
1843 Carlyle Past & Pr. (1858) 142 *False-spoken, unjust.
1569 J. Sandford tr. Agrippa's Van. Artes 2 b, A *falsesworne Marchaunte.
1729 Savage Wanderer ii. 391 *False-term'd honour.
1706 Watts Horæ Lyricæ ii. (1808) 169 The cruel shade apply'd‥a *false tinctur'd glass.
1641 Milton Ch. Govt. ii. iii. (1851) 173 A *false-whited, a lawnie resemblance of her.
1755 Carte Hist. Eng. IV. 93 Names *false-written as Artherus for Arthurus.
c.D.2.c With verbs, forming verbs, as false-brood, false-colour, false-feed, false-play, false-point, false-preen, false-promise; (whence false-brooding, etc., vbl. ns.).
1948 Brit. Birds XLI. 237 He ‘*false-brooded’ by crouching in any convenient depression nearby. Ibid. 243 In the same way false-brooding occurs as a substitute activity when uncertainty arises within the bird's mental framework.
1817 Coleridge Biog. Lit. (1847) II. 170 Genius neither distorts nor *false-colours its objects.
1948 Brit. Birds XLI. 12 She then inserts her bill into that of the male and symbolic ‘*false-feeding’ follows in which food is not actually passed.
1961 D. Nethersole-Thompson in Bannerman Birds Brit. Isles X. 313 After oystercatchers have copulated, they may preen or ‘false preen’, feed rapidly or ‘false feed’, peck at the ground, curtsey.
1606 Shakes. Ant. & Cl. iv. xiv. 19 The Queene‥has *false plaid my Glory Vnto an Enemies triumph.
1892 Field 7 May 695/1 They kept on *false pointing and backing‥Ivybridge did little else but false point.
1949 Brit. Birds XLII. 7 On one or two occasions the *false-preening by the male, mentioned by Makkink, was observed at this stage. 1961 False preen [see false feed].
a 1618 Sylvester Cup of Consolation 22 Smiling Hope‥*False-promiseth long Peace and plenty too.
3.D.3 Special comb.: †false-back a., ? treacherously retreating; false-bedded a., -bedding Geol. (see quots. 1876, 1887); †false-cup, a kind of drinking cup; false ebony (see quots.); †false-heart a. = false hearted (see Comb. 1); false-muster, an incorrect statement of the number of men in a regiment or a ship's company; false-nerved a. Bot., having no vascular tissue; false nest (see quot.); false twist Textiles [twist n.1 4] (see quot. 1960), also attrib.; whence false-twist v. intr. and false-twisting ppl. a.; †false-winged a. Arch. = pseudo-dipteral.
1633 P. Fletcher Purple Isl. xi. xlviii, The *false-back Tartars fear with cunning feign.
1876 Page Adv. Text Bk. Geol. v. 91 Sandstones are said to be *false-bedded when their strata are crossed obliquely by numerous laminæ. 1884 Nature 13 Nov. 32 The lower zone of false-bedded grits.
1876 Woodward Geol. (1887) 13 *False-bedding‥is a feature produced in shallow water by currents and tidal action, whereby beds are heaped up in irregular layers without any approach to horizontality or continuity. 1877 A. H. Green Phys. Geol. iv. §1. 124 False-bedding e.g. Current-, Cross-, or Drift-Bedding.
1708 Motteux Rabelais v. xxxiv. (1737) 152 *False-Cups, Tumblers.
1892 C. M. Yonge Old Woman's Outlook v. 96 The inside heart wood [of the laburnum] is so black as to be called *false-ebony. 1911 Encycl. Brit. XVI. 32/1 The heart wood of the laburnum is of a dark reddish-brown colour, hard and durable, and takes a good polish.‥ The laburnum has been called false ebony from this character of its wood.
1593 Shakes. 2 Hen. VI, v. i. 143, I am thy King, and thou a *false-heart Traitor.
1752 A. Murphy Gray's-Inn Jrnl. (1756) i. 116 No. 17 There are besides several Faggots, and *False-musters, which the General thinks proper to connive at.
1954 Bannerman Birds Brit. Isles III. 354 This species [wren] builds ‘*false’ nests in the vicinity of the nest which is eventually to hold the eggs‥some naturalists considering that they are for the purpose of roosting in, but this is denied by others who consider they are merely the result of the male's craze for building.
1866 Treas. Bot., *False-nerved, when veins have no vascular tissue, but are formed of simple elongated cellular tissue; as in mosses, seaweeds, etc.
1960 Textile Terms & Defs. (ed. 4) 62 *False twist, turns inserted in opposite directions and in equal numbers in adjacent elements of yarn‥characterized by its temporary nature. Ibid., The false-twisting element, through which the yarn or sliver passes. 1965 Guardian 31 Mar. 17/1 False-twist version of acetate yarn. Ibid., The idea of false-twisting acetate yarns.
1715 Leoni Palladio's Archit. (1742) II. 20 This Temple was‥*false-wing'd.
Add: [A.] [I.]A.I [2.] [d.]A.I.2.d Similarly, false arrest (U.S.).
1882 Rep. 6th U.S. Circuit Court ii. 222 Being the person actually accused, he could not, I think, complain of a false arrest. 1896 Federal Cases (U.S.) XXVI. 407/1 Thereupon a complaint and warrant was procured by Hudson for the false arrest and imprisonment of the Halls by Head. 1924 N.Y. Times 20 Nov. 15/1 The suit‥for $35,000 damages, alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution, went to trial‥yesterday. 1954 W. Faulkner Fable 176 When his lawyers sue your bondsmen for false arrest, they can tell them to go chase themselves. 1985 Los Angeles Times 16 Aug. ii. 3/1 Charging Bullock's with malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and false arrest.
[6.] [a.]A.I.6.a Also false move: an imprudent or careless move or act, esp. one leading to disaster.
1870 False move [see chequer-board s.v. chequer n.1]. 1958 G. Greene Our Man in Havana v. v. 239 Wormold‥made a false move which enabled Segura to thrust a protected piece into square 22. 1960 Today 25 June 12/4 Remember also that one false move could cost Sally her life. 1989 B. Neal Southern Cooking (rev. ed.) x. 142 The slightest false move would set it skittering over the rim and across the table.
b.A.I.6.b false economy, (an) apparent saving that leads to greater expense in the long run.
1781 G. Morris in J. Sparks Life G. Morris (1832) I. xiv. 234 Greatly to curtail salaries is a false economy. 1847 C. Brontë Jane Eyre I. xiii. 238 ‘For economy's sake, [he] bought us bad needles and thread, with which we could hardly sew.’ ‘That was very false economy,’ remarked Mrs. Fairfax. 1933 Jrnl. R. Aeronaut. Soc. XXXVII. 880 The fact that a larger amount of money is required within the two years period has prevented contracts being secured. This is an example of false economy, which‥is very prevalent to-day. 1955 W. Gaddis Recognitions i. i. 4 The buttons‥had originally been made, with all of false economy's ingenious drear deception, of coated cardboard. 1982 Christian Science Monitor 27 May 24/1 Communities have to review tax cuts to keep economy from turning into false economy—the inadequate schooling that undermines business, jobs, and citizenship.
[III.] [13.]A.III.13 [g.]A.III.13.g esp. false modesty, affected or pretended modesty concealing pride.
1710 Steele Tatler No. 168 ⁋4 There is no Way of mending such false Modesty. 1899 [see poaching vbl. n.2 b]. 1923 ‘R. Crompton’ Innermost Room ii. i. 108 Miss Gill‥considered that half the evil in the world arose from ignorance and ‘false modesty’. 1956 N. Pevsner Englishness of English Art vi. 151 He knew what he was doing, and there is no false modesty in what he writes about his achievement. 1985 N.Y. Times 21 Nov. b3/5 ‘I'm not going to let false modesty stand in the way,’ he told the foreign correspondents as he recited some of his accomplishments as Mayor.
j.A.III.13.j Assumed or ascribed in order to deceive, fictitious, as false age, false name, etc.
1842 Brande Dict. Sci., Lit. & Art, Pseudepigraphy, the ascription of false names of authors to works. 1893 A. Conan Doyle Stockbroker's Clerk in Compl. Sherlock Holmes Short Stories (1928) 373 By some means‥he succeeded in winning, under a false name, this official position in the office, which he utilized in order to obtain mouldings of various locks. 1929 R. A. Freeman Famous Cases Dr. Thorndyke iv. 139 Now, a common thief, he was sneaking in under a false name. 1958 A. Sillitoe Saturday Night & Sunday Morning i. v. 78 In fact he joined too young by giving a false age and at seventeen had been thrown into the last offensive over the Rhine. 1987 Sunday Tel. (Colour Suppl.) 12 July 7 False names, private jets and secret addresses—the Royal Family are off on their hols again.
Draft partial entry December 2006
▸ †false molar n. Obs. after French fausses molaires, plural (1817 or earlier) = premolar n.
Draft partial entry December 2004
▸ false consciousness n. (in later use esp. in Marxist theory) a belief or outlook that (supposedly) prevents a person from being able to discern the true nature of his or her (social or economic) situation.
1858 H. L. Mansel Limits of Relig. Thought iv. 118 If man's dependence on God is not really destructive of his personal freedom, the religious consciousness, in denying that freedom, is a *false consciousness. 1934D. Torr tr. F. Engels in K. Marx & F. Engels Corr. 1846–95 511 Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker consciously, indeed, but with a false consciousness [Ger. falschen Bewußtsein]. The real motives impelling him remain unknown to him, otherwise it would not be an ideological process at all. 1969 Times 13 Jan. 7/6 They insist that those who differ from them are blinded by ‘false consciousness’. 2000 Z. Smith White Teeth iv. 78 She reads, in a few short months, Greer's Female Eunuch, Jong's Fear of Flying and The Second Sex, all in a clandestine attempt, on Neena's part, to rid Clara of her ‘false consciousness’.
Draft partial entry November 2005
▸ false mastic n. a tall tree of Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, Sideroxylon foetidissimum (family Sapotaceae), which yields a hard wood suitable for construction and furniture and bears yellow flowers with a cheesy smell; also called mastic, mastic-bully.
1944 Sci. Monthly Aug. 101/1 These are the characteristics of heartwood from the five species of trees to be described‥: lysiloma, mahogany, fishpoison-tree, *false-mastic, and lignumvitae. 1969 T. H. Everett Living Trees of World xxx. 284/1 Good lumber for construction, boatbuilding, furniture and fence posts is produced by the jocuma or false mastic. 1998 Amer. Forests (Nexis) 22 Mar. 14 In 1992 Hurricane Andrew wiped out many national champions in south Florida, but the report of the death of the biggest false-mastic was, as Mark Twain would say, greatly exaggerated.