de·​ceit | \ di-ˈsēt How to pronounce deceit (audio) \

Definition of deceit

1 : the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid : the act or practice of deceiving : deception achieving one's goals through a web of deceit
2 : an attempt or device to deceive : trick Her excuse turned out to be a deceit.
3 : the quality of being dishonest or misleading : the quality of being deceitful : deceitfulness … far from deceit or guile.— John Milton

Examples of deceit in a Sentence

a rise to power that was marked by treachery and deceit she's completely free of deceit
Recent Examples on the Web Or is the show implying that Kate never had a choice at all—that this affair is similarly toxic due to the deceit and hierarchy involved? ELLE, 19 Apr. 2022 His inability to remember the events of three decades ago—like the 65% of India’s population below the age of 35—is a function of demographics rather than deceit. Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Time, 30 Mar. 2022 This engrossing, visceral ride through desire and self-deceit has a limited run and tickets are vanishing. David Benedict, Variety, 16 Mar. 2022 The premise: Two Detroit homicide detectives become ensnared in a web of deceit involving the killing of a Motor City cop and an attempt to hide the crime. Julie Hinds,, 18 Mar. 2022 Terezín was not a final destination camp, but a camp of deceit — one where Nazis tolerated or took advantage of prisoners’ creative abilities in an attempt to distract from the atrocities taking place elsewhere. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 16 Mar. 2022 While there are separate legal requirements to make out a case of fraud or intentional deception, these concepts have found their way into antitrust cases where the purpose of the deceit was to block competitors. David Reichenberg, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 A day earlier, Biden directed his team to essentially accuse the senator of deceit in a furious 714-word statement that Biden signed off on before it was sent. Kevin Liptak And Jeff Zeleny, CNN, 21 Dec. 2021 These five days of deceit and dysfunction don’t stand alone and won’t end with this argument. Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deceit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of deceit

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for deceit

Middle English deceite, from Anglo-French, from Latin decepta, feminine of deceptus, past participle of decipere — see deceive

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Time Traveler for deceit

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The first known use of deceit was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deceit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for deceit


de·​ceit | \ di-ˈsēt How to pronounce deceit (audio) \

Kids Definition of deceit

1 : the act or practice of making someone believe something that is not true : deception The villain used deceit to further his evil plan.
2 : a statement or act that is meant to fool or trick someone We saw through her deceit.
3 : the quality of being dishonest



Legal Definition of deceit

: deliberate and misleading concealment, false declaration, or artifice : deception theft by deceit also : the tort of committing or carrying out deceit an action for deceit — see also fraud, misrepresentation

More from Merriam-Webster on deceit

Nglish: Translation of deceit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deceit for Arabic Speakers


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