falsely invented (excuse)


trumped-up = erdichtet [erfunden] —— trumped up charge = Scheinbelastung



“Death was probably the only way Alexei Navalny would ever escape his imprisonment on TRUMPED-UP charges in Russia… With Russian media reports that Navalny dropped dead after taking a walk in the Arctic penal colony where he was last held, we have the answer.”

Doug Klain — Atlantic Council (16th February 2024)

Did you

trumped-up (also trumped up)

- trumped-up charges are untrue, and made up in order to punish someone unfairly

- to give or use false information so that someone will be accused of doing something wrong and punished

Collins Dictionary / Cambridge Dictionary


"Trumped-up" meaning "to devise deceitfully or dishonestly” originated in the early 18th century. Its earliest recorded use dates back to 1728, appearing in writings by Henry Fielding. It carries the idea of something invented, exaggerated, or false; and implies that the thing being described is less substantial or legitimate than it might appear.

Today, "trumped-up" is commonly used to describe false accusations, fabricated stories, or exaggerated excuses.


Henry VIII's powerful minister, Thomas Cromwell, endeavoring to strengthen England's ties to Protestant Europe, conspired to persuade the king to take the Flemish Anne of Cleves as his fourth wife.

Hans Holbein was engaged to paint an entrancing portrait of the princess, and the king, as hoped, anticipated meeting his new bride with lustful jubilation. When she finally arrived, however, the princess turned out to be less attractive than the portrait suggested. "You have sent me," Henry, famously disappointed, exclaimed, "a Flanders mare!"

This incident marked the end for Cromwell; Henry soon thereafter had him executed on trumped-up charges of treason.


concocted, contrived, cooked-up, counterfeit, created, deceptive, deceitful, delusive, devised, dishonest, distorted, doctored, fabricated, fake, false, falsified, feigned, fictitious, forged, fraudulent, hyped-up, illegitimate, imaginary, invented, made-up, misleading, misrepresented, phony, planted, rigged, sham, simulated, spurious, TRUMPED-UP, twisted, ungrounded, unfounded, unreal, untruthful, untrue, unverified, unwarranted, unverified

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“It’s a sad thing that powerful rulers resort to TRUMPING-UP charges to silence or destroy their political rivals.”

THANKS to Sabine for suggesting today’s OWAD.

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