a. A military attack or maneuver that is meant to divert attention away from a planned point of attack.
b. A body movement that is intended to divert another's attention, often by being deliberately left uncompleted: "The mongoose begins with a feint, which provokes the snake to strike" (Norbert Wiener).
2. A deceptive action calculated to divert attention from one's real purpose. See Synonyms at wile.
v. feint·ed, feint·ing, feints
To make a feint: "He feinted with his left hand, trying to distract the turtle and then grab its tail" (Howard Frank Mosher).
1. To deceive with a feint: He feinted his opponent with a left hook.
2. To do or perform as a feint: feinted a punch.
[French feinte, from Old French, from past participle of feindre, to feign; see FEIGN.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.