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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a hoax call (=one intended to trick someone)
▪ They received a hoax call warning of a bomb in the building.
▪ It was still not clear last night whether the tapes were an elaborate hoax.
▪ This was nothing but an elaborate hoax perpetrated by her in revenge for all the suffering I had caused her.
▪ Note the offence of making a bomb hoax call etc. under section 51 Criminal Law Act 1977.
▪ Note the offence of making a bomb hoax call etc. under section 51 Criminal Law Act 1977.
▪ Of 221 launches in answer to unidentified distress signals 216 turned out to be false alarms or hoax calls.
▪ Herron, 25, threatened 20-year-old waitress Helen Calderwood with the sack unless she made the hoax call last December.
▪ Last week's blast triggered several hoax calls.
▪ I got an email about another computer virus, but I'm pretty sure it's just a hoax.
▪ The UFO sightings were revealed to be a hoax.
▪ To everybody's great relief, the bomb scare turned out to be a hoax.
▪ A hoax is a hoax, of course, but it seems different when the phoney says he is Balenciaga's grandson.
▪ At the school she discovered the call had been a hoax.
▪ Did Mr Hawthorne stand to gain from a hoax?
▪ Had Neil Armstrong really walked on the moon or was it a magnificent hoax?
▪ The hoax devices were destroyed in controlled explosions by army bomb disposal experts, using remote-controlled vehicles.
▪ The rumor was that I had invented him to perpetrate a hoax and had actually written the books myself.
▪ Their vivid colouring is a hoax.
▪ What was really wonderful was that the paper swallowed the hoax whole.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hoax \Hoax\, n. [Prob. contr. fr. hocus, in hocus-pocus.] A deception for mockery or mischief; a deceptive trick or story; a practical joke.


Hoax \Hoax\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Hoaxed; p. pr. & vb. n. Hoaxing.] To deceive by a story or a trick, for sport or mischief; to impose upon sportively.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1796 (v.), 1808 (n.), probably an alteration of hocus "conjurer, juggler" (1630s), or directly from hocus-pocus. Related: Hoaxed; hoaxing.


n. Anything deliberately intended to deceive or trick. vb. (context transitive English) To deceive (someone) by making them believe something which has been maliciously or mischievously fabricated. (scam)

  1. n. something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage [syn: fraud, fraudulence, dupery, humbug, put-on]

  2. v. subject to a palyful hoax or joke [syn: pull someone's leg, play a joke on]


A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.

Usage examples of "hoax".

Coral Lorenzen, author of The Great Flying Saucer Hoax and an international director of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, immediately followed through on the startling rumors by putting in a call to Terry Clarke of KALG Radio in Alamogordo, nine miles east of Holloman.

By the end of 1949 Project Grudge claimed that all reports to date had been delusions, illusions, mirages, hysteria, hoaxes, and crackpot tales.

Since most of fandom is conducted by mail, hoaxes are relatively easy to perpetrate.

Given the mentality of fandom, death hoaxes are inevitable occurrences.

Jim Conyers explained about hoaxes in fandom, and how a fan might assume several personas in letter writing, since early fans seldom met.

Corello saw it in their faces: a very visible apprehension that Flyte was hoaxing them.

I hope you will remember my small show of compassion today, as vividly as you may remember any of my occasional humbugs and hoaxes, fobberies and fooleries.

He had been certain that tonight he would trap the haunters and end this hoax.

Javan princess in order to keep her true origin from coming out, and the pretended mother yet another hopper who moved in to protect the girl when it looked likely that the Javan hoax would be exposed?

I was a legitimate writer with a legal use for these tools, and the whole anonymous call was a hoax, used by a kook to get me in trouble.

Klass and others find lexicographic and typographic inconsistencies that suggest that the whole thing is a hoax.

Just as no one would take alcoholism and addiction seriously as diseases back in the thirties, lycanthropic hysteria has been passed off as a moral problem, or hoax, for almost eighty years.

But I will not undertake the task of distinguishing satire from irony, burlesque, caricature, lampoon, travesty, pasquinade, raillery, billingsgate, diatribe, invective, imitation, mimicry, parody, jokes, hoax, and spoof.

To be honest, I minimized it a bit in my own mind because I recalled receiving an anthrax hoax letter three years before.

These cases are very different from that of the so-called Shroud of Turin, which shows something too close to a human form to be a misapprehended natural pattern and which is now suggested by carbon-14 dating to be not the death shroud of Jesus, but a pious hoax from the fourteenth century - a time when the manufacture of fraudulent religious relics was a thriving and profitable home handicraft industry.