Both to feign and to feint seem to mean to pretend. Are they synonyms or the same word with only a different spelling?
Or is there an actual concrete difference in their meaning?
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
A feint (noun) is primarily a deceptive move, such as in fencing or military maneuvering. It can also mean presenting a feigned appearance. Feint can also be a verb, but in that case it simply means to execute a feint.
To feign (verb) is to deceive; either by acting as if you're something or someone you're not, or lying.
There is some overlap between particular meanings of the two words (For example, his ignorance was a feint, he was feigning ignorance), but mostly they are separate.
Both words come from the French feindre, which means to "pretend, represent, imitate, shirk".