Tricky words: What does falsify mean?

Thank you for sharing this. I was not aware there were two definitions for “falsify.” Now I know. I agree with you, though: I will stick to the common usage of the word in non-academic circles. It’s less confusing that way. Reblogged from

LibroEditing proofreading, editing, transcription, localisation

I occasionally write about tricky words rather than troublesome pairs on this blog, and here’s one that always makes me feel a little uneasy. When that happens, I look it up (a large part of being a decent editor / proofreader is knowing when to look stuff up), and I find I have had to look this one up a few times.

So, falsify.

The most common meaning for “to falsify”, in my opinion, is the one around making something become false. You might change something to mislead “We falsified the results to make it look like smoking is good for you”. You are effectively changing something, a document or some results, in order to deceive people. Falsification is the noun for the action of falsifying, and a falsifier does it.

But the other meaning is to prove to be false, or to disprove. In this case, it’s the opposite…

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