American English

Definition of sham noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[singular] a situation, feeling, system, etc. that is not as good or true as it seems to be The latest crime figures are a complete sham. She felt trapped in a sham of a marriage.
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] a person who pretends to be something that they are not The article exposes him for the sham that he really is.
  3. 3[uncountable] behavior, feelings, words, etc. that are intended to make someone or something seem to be better than they really are Their promises turned out to be full of sham and hypocrisy. His intellectual pretensions are all sham.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: sham

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