an act intended to make somebody believe something that is not true, especially something unpleasant a bomb hoax hoax calls The emergency call turned out to be a hoax. See related entries: Dishonest Word Origin late 18th cent. (as a verb): probably a contraction of hocus.Extra examples He had been the victim of a computer virus hoax. It turned out to be an elaborate hoax. The organizers staged a hoax on some of the competitors. a hoax perpetrated by the British government Detectives are still investigating the hoax calls. He was accused of using a bomb hoax to empty a rival restaurant. The so-called ‘Iron Age’ remains turned out to be an elaborate hoax.