• WordNet 3.6
    • adj sham adopted in order to deceive "an assumed name","an assumed cheerfulness","a fictitious address","fictive sympathy","a pretended interest","a put-on childish voice","sham modesty"
    • v sham make believe with the intent to deceive "He feigned that he was ill","He shammed a headache"
    • v sham make a pretence of "She assumed indifference, even though she was seething with anger","he feigned sleep"
    • n sham something that is a counterfeit; not what it seems to be
    • n sham a person who makes deceitful pretenses
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Isolde, seated on a sham rock, awaiting the coming of her lover. Alas! all ends unharpily Isolde, seated on a sham rock, awaiting the coming of her lover. Alas! all ends unharpily

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Sham A false front, or removable ornamental covering.
    • a Sham False; counterfeit; pretended; feigned; unreal; as, a sham fight. "They scorned the sham independence proffered to them by the Athenians."
    • Sham That which deceives expectation; any trick, fraud, or device that deludes and disappoints; a make-believe; delusion; imposture; humbug. "A mere sham .""Believe who will the solemn sham , not I."
    • Sham To assume the manner and character of; to imitate; to ape; to feign.
    • v. i Sham To make false pretenses; to deceive; to feign; to impose. "Wondering . . . whether those who lectured him were such fools as they professed to be, or were only shamming ."
    • Sham To obtrude by fraud or imposition. "We must have a care that we do not . . . sham fallacies upon the world for current reason."
    • Sham To trick; to cheat; to deceive or delude with false pretenses. "Fooled and shammed into a conviction."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sham Shame; disgrace; fault.
    • n sham A trick put upon one; a trick or device that deludes or disappoints expectation; fraud; imposture; make-believe; humbug: as, an age of shams.
    • n sham Some device meant to give a thing a different outward appearance, as of neatness and finish, or to imitate something which it is not. Specifically A false shirt-front; a dicky.
    • n sham A false pillow-cover; a pillow-sham.
    • n sham A strip of fine linen, often embroidered, put under the upper edge of the bed-coverings and turned over, as if forming the upper end of the sheet.
    • n sham plural Gaiters.
    • sham False; counterfeit; pretended: as, a sham fight.
    • sham Synonyms Mock, spurious, make-believe.
    • sham To deceive; trick; cheat; delude with false pretenses.
    • sham To obtrude by fraud or imposition.
    • sham To make a pretense of in order to deceive; feign; imitate: as, to sham illness.
    • sham To pretend; make false pretenses; pretend to be, do, etc., what one is not, does not, does not mean, etc.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Sham sham a pretence: that which deceives expectation: imposture
    • adj Sham pretended: false
    • v.t Sham to pretend: to feign: to impose upon
    • v.i Sham to make false pretences:—pr.p. sham′ming; pa.t. and pa.p. shammed
    • ***


  • Miguel De Cervantes
    “Mere flimflam stories, and nothing but shams and lies.”
  • Mark Twain
    “One may make their house a palace of sham, or they can make it a home, a refuge.”
  • Emily Dickinson
    “I like a look of Agony, because I know it's true -- men do not sham Convulsion, nor simulate, a Throe --”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Originally the same word as shame, hence, a disgrace, a trick. See Shame (n.)


In literature:

Young as Ida was, she had a grip of essential things, and a dislike of shams.
"The Gold Trail" by Harold Bindloss
There was no sham this time.
"Cormorant Crag" by George Manville Fenn
I believe he has been shamming a bit lately.
"Charge!" by George Manville Fenn
Why, a baby could have seen through your miserable sham, ill-spelt letter, with the words all slanting the wrong way.
"Glyn Severn's Schooldays" by George Manville Fenn
The crisis has come, and this miserable sham reign is pretty well at an end.
"In Honour's Cause" by George Manville Fenn
This place is a sham.
"Yussuf the Guide" by George Manville Fenn
We thought that they were shamming, and treated them like the rest.
"Marmaduke Merry" by William H. G. Kingston
I wish, though, this was the one that I got to be so chummy with on the sham-fight day.
"Trapped by Malays" by George Manville Fenn
The captain tells me in this note that you have been shamming stupid.
"Peter Simple" by Frederick Marryat
Is this the real feeling of London society, or is it only a fashion, a sham, a grimace?
"The Dictator" by Justin McCarthy

In poetry:

That tho' 'tis wise with Charity
Torrential Need to dam,
The Hope of Progress is a lie
And Brotherhood a sham.
"Prosperity" by Bernard O Dowd
Can you blame me if I've learned to think
Your hate of vice a sham,
When you so coldly crushed me down
And then excused the man?
"A Double Standard" by Frances Ellen Watkins
"Thou knowest how Fitzgibbon holds
The post at Beaver Dams,
And Dearborn frets, and fumes, and chafes,
And calls us British shams:
"A Ballad Of 1812" by Sarah Anne Curzon
No costly sandals deck those feet,
By thorns and briars torn;
The cold rain chills my rosy cheek,
Whose freshness sham'd the morn !
"Lewin and Gynneth" by Mary Darby Robinson
Strength's a shadow; Hope is madness;
Love, delusion; Friendship, sham;
Pleasure fades away to sadness,
None of these are worth a d---n.
"Thick-Headed Thoughts: Part 3" by Adam Lindsay Gordon
Courage and pow'r, to wit and learning join'd,
With energy that sham'd the envious sun;
The ablest, bravest, noblest of mankind--
A Caesar and Aurelius mixt in one.
"Theodore Roosevelt" by Howard Phillips Lovecraft

In news:

Bob and John, with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, wins the Sham Stakes, Saturday at Santa Anita.
Faraj Kadah/ Ashraf Abu Leil Afrah Houran Dabke- Sounds of The Syrian Houran Sham Palace 2:51 AM.
Jaxson said that Kim's marriage was a sham and all for publicity .
Former real estate agent goes to federal prison for arranging sham mortgage.
A number of writers have discussed the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which has made our democratic republic a legal and political electoral sham.
Donald Trump calls election a 'total sham ,' advocates 'revolution'.
The Alaska Young Democrats invite you to the 27th annual Sham Jam party at 7 pm Saturday night at the Canvas Art Studio at 223 Seward Street.
Mexican actress Fernanda Romero and her American husband face charges of entering a sham marriage.
Cowboys radio voice Brad Sham answered reader questions during a live chat Tuesday.
'Why Nations Fail': Is Egypt's new democracy real or a sham .
Huntley, cronies ran sham nonprofit.
Jed York – Is the GM search a sham .
The 49ers are either creating a huge smoke screen to conceal their true desire to hire someone other than Trent Baalke as their general manager, or their GM search is a sham .
West campaign calling recount a ' sham '.
Allen West calls vote recount a sham .

In science:

The technical problem of generalizing Kohn-Sham methodology to an exact theory reduces to methodology for such indexed local potentials.
Nonlocal potentials in independent-electron models
It is useful to introduce the notion of the Kohn-Sham potential Vef f (r) and the Kohn–Sham magnetic field Bef f (r).
Electronic Structure and Magnetic Properties of Solids
If dynamical correlation between electrons is not taken into account, this formula recovers the corresponding stopping power of noninteracting electrons in an effective Kohn-Sham potential.
Time-Dependent Density-Functional Theory for the Stopping Power of an Interacting Electron Gas for Slow Ions
The initial states |Φσ,j (t → −∞)i = |Φσ,j i are the occupied Kohn-Sham orbitals of stationary ground state density functional theory (DFT).
Collisions of Slow Highly Charged Ions with Surfaces
However, the dose and administration regime used in the present study failed to significantly reduce basal PGE2 levels in the intact side when compared to sham-operated controls (Fig. 5).
Post-ischaemic treatment with the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor nimesulide reduces blood-brain barrier disruption and leukocyte infiltration following transient focal cerebral ischaemia in rats