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False friend a word or expression that has a similar form to one in a person's native language, but a different meaning (for example English magazine and French magasin ‘shop’).

false memory an apparent recollection of an event which did not actually occur, especially one of childhood sexual abuse arising from suggestion during psychoanalysis; in the 1990s the question of whether buried memory of this kind could be recovered through psychoanalysis was strongly debated, with proponents of the theory using the term recovered memory to demonstrate the belief that such recollections could be rooted in fact.

false position a situation in which one is compelled to act in a manner inconsistent with one's true nature or principles.

play someone false deceive or cheat someone.

see also sail under false colours.

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