AskDefine | Define feint

Dictionary Definition

feint n : any distracting or deceptive maneuver (as a mock attack) v : deceive by a mock action; "The midfielder feinted to shoot"

User Contributed Dictionary




pretended, from feindre to feign.


  1. To make a feint, or mock attack.


en-adj er
  1. Feigned; counterfeit.
  2. In the context of "fencing|boxing|war": (of an attack) directed toward a different part from the intended strike


  1. A movement made to confuse the opponent, a dummy
  2. That which is feigned; an assumed or false appearance; a pretense; a stratagem; a fetch.
  3. In the context of "fencing|boxing|war": An offensive movement resembling an attack in all but its continuance


Extensive Definition

Feint is a French term that entered English from the discipline of fencing. Feints are maneuvers designed to distract or mislead, done by giving the impression that a certain maneuver will take place, while in fact another, or even none will. In military tactics (and most types of combat), there are two types of feints: feint attacks and feint retreats.

Feint attacks

A feint attack is designed to draw defensive action towards the point under assault. It is usually used as a diversion to force the enemy to concentrate more manpower in a given area so that the opposing force in another area is weaker. Unlike a related diversionary maneuver, the demonstration, a feint involves actual contact with the enemy.

Feint retreats

A feint retreat is performed by briefly engaging the enemy, then retreating. It is intended to draw the enemy pursuit into a prepared ambush, or to cause disarray. For example, the Anglo-Saxon downfall to the Norman invasion was instigated by this tactic where the dominant shield wall of the Saxons broke in pursuit of the Norman cavalry. This forfeited the advantage of height (as the Saxons were positioned on a hill-top) and the line was broken, providing the opportunity to fight in single handed combat on a neutral vantage point, a battle that the Saxons were not ready for.
The Parthian shot is another example of a feint retreat, where mounted Parthian archers would retreat from a battle and then, while still riding, turn their bodies back to shoot at the pursuing enemy.
Feint is similar to the word fake.
feint in German: Finte
feint in Croatian: Feint
feint in Japanese: フェイント

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acting, aerial tactics, affectation, airborne tactics, alibi, apology, appearance, applied tactics, armored tactics, art, artful dodge, artifice, attitudinizing, bag of tricks, barrier tactics, befooling, blind, bluff, bluffing, bosey, catch, cavalry tactics, cheat, cheating, chicanery, chouse, cloak, color, coloring, commend, compliment, congratulate, conspiracy, contemn, contrivance, counterfeit, coup, cover, cover story, cover-up, craft, curve, curve-ball, cut, cute trick, deceit, deception, defensive strategy, delusion, design, device, dirty deal, dirty trick, disguise, dissemblance, dissembling, dissimulation, distraction, diversion, dodge, encirclement, excuse, expedient, facade, face, fake, fakement, fakery, faking, false air, false front, false move, false show, falsity, fast deal, feigning, felicitate, fetch, ficelle, fire tactics, four-flushing, fraud, front, gambit, game, gilt, gimmick, gloss, googly, grift, guise, handle, hoax, hocus-pocus, home thrust, hoodwinking, humbug, humbuggery, imposture, infantry tactics, infiltration, intrigue, investment, jab, jig, joker, juggle, jugglery, knavery, lame excuse, little game, locus standi, lunge, make-believe, maneuver, mask, masquerade, meretriciousness, mob tactics, mobile tactics, move, ostensible motive, ostentation, outward show, pass, pincers movement, play, playacting, plot, ploy, poor excuse, pose, posing, posture, pretense, pretension, pretext, protestation, public motive, put-off, racket, recommend, red herring, refuge, representation, resort, ruse, salute, scheme, screen, scurvy trick, seeming, semblance, sham, shift, shock tactics, show, simulacrum, simulation, sleight, sleight of hand, sleight-of-hand trick, smoke screen, speciousness, stab, stalking-horse, stratagem, strategy, subterfuge, swing, tactic, tactics, thrust, trick, trickery, varnish, veil, whizzer, wile, wily device, window dressing
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