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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.