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hoax Line breaks: hoax
Pronunciation: /həʊks/

Definition of hoax in English:


A humorous or malicious deception: the evidence had been planted as part of an elaborate hoax [as modifier]: a hoax 999 call
More example sentences
  • But no accident was discovered and police are treating the incident as a malicious hoax call.
  • They organised elaborate hoaxes like the bestowing of imaginary honours, which he appears to have accepted with due solemnity.
  • As I speculated before, it could be that he is the victim of an elaborate hoax.
practical joke, joke, jest, prank, trick, jape;
ruse, deception, fraud, imposture, cheat, swindle, bluff, humbug, confidence trick
informal con, spoof, scam, fast one, put-on


[with object] Back to top  
Trick or deceive (someone).
Example sentences
  • I now have reason to believe that in unraveling a hoax I was hoaxed myself.
  • James also investigated the case and found that Tina was hoaxing her adoptive parents and using the media attention to assist her quest to find her biological parents.
  • No amount of fossil data will induce them to admit they are hoaxing their readers.
play a practical joke on, play a joke on, play a jest on, play a prank on, trick, fool;
deceive, hoodwink, delude, dupe, take in, lead on, cheat, bluff, gull, humbug
informal con, kid, have on, pull a fast one on, put one over on, take for a ride, lead someone up the garden path, pull the wool over someone's eyes
informal, , dated gammon
North American informal sucker, snooker, hornswoggle
Australian informal pull a swifty on
vulgar slang bullshit
archaic cozen


Late 18th century (as a verb): probably a contraction of hocus.

  • hanky-panky from mid 19th century:

    People have been talking in disapproving terms of hanky-panky since the 1830s. Then it tended to mean ‘trickery’ or ‘dishonest behaviour’, whereas since the 1930s it has mainly referred to sexual indiscretions. The word is possibly an alteration of hocus-pocus, which was said by conjurors as they performed their tricks, rather like ‘abracadabra!’. This appeared in the early 17th century based on a pseudo-Latin phrase hax pax max Deus adimax used by conjurors as a magic formula. Hoax (late 18th century) may be a shortening of hocus-pocus.

Words that rhyme with hoax

Boaks, coax, Oaks, stokes
Definition of hoax in:
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