adj. & adv.
adj. 1 not according with fact; wrong, incorrect (a false idea). 2 a spurious, sham, artificial (false gods; false teeth; false modesty). b acting as such; appearing to be such, esp. deceptively (a false lining). 3 illusory; not actually so (a false economy). 4 improperly so called (false acacia). 5 deceptive. 6 (foll. by to) deceitful, treacherous, or unfaithful. 7 illegal (false imprisonment).
adv. in a false manner (esp. play false). false acacia see ACACIA. false alarm an alarm given needlessly. false bedding Geol. = CROSS-BEDDING. false colours deceitful pretence. false dawn a transient light in the east before dawn. false gharial see GHARIAL. false pretences misrepresentations made with intent to deceive (esp. under false pretences). false rib = floating rib. false start 1 an invalid or disallowed start in a race. 2 an unsuccessful attempt to begin something. false step a slip; a mistake. false topaz = CITRINE. falsely adv. falseness n. falsity n. (pl. -ies).
[ OE fals and OF fals, faus f. L falsus past part. of fallere deceive ]