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

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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 Hyperpartisanship and moral decay have reduced the reputational cost of public deceit. Jeremy Lewin, WSJ, "The Progressive Case for Libel Reform," 5 Apr. 2021 For longhorn beetles, Disa forficaria’s deceit seems to be both physical and chemical. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Extremely Rare Orchid Tricks Horny Beetles Into Carrying Its Pollen," 25 Mar. 2021 After four years of Trumpian incoherence and alternative facts, willful ignorance and blatant deceit don’t register on the political radar. Alyson Cole, Fortune, "Breaking the glass slipper: Can Marjorie Taylor Greene succeed as ‘Trump in drag’?," 4 Mar. 2021 Sometimes, one apology can’t cover a crime so massive, a deceit so evil. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Ayala: Survivor questions San Antonio archdiocese for failing to 'walk with' victims after list of clergy abusers released in 2019," 4 Feb. 2021 This man spent his life accumulating unconscionable material wealth through deceit and double-dealing treachery, his only goal — his only religion — being personal enrichment. Washington Post, "Gene Weingarten: What is Trump’s eternal fate? The Legions of Darkness have some thoughts.," 11 Mar. 2021 The government started its campaign of deceit about the events immediately after Hampton’s murder. NBC News, "'Judas and the Black Messiah' counters decades of lies about Black Panthers," 2 Mar. 2021 Last month, wrestling parents enlisted an attorney who sent a letter to the university charging fraud and deceit in recruiting. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "For Stanford's century-old wrestling program, no foe is tougher than its own university," 25 Feb. 2021 He was charged with using fraud or deceit to falsely imprison the woman in June 2019. CBS News, "Former TSA agent sentenced to jail for tricking woman into showing breasts at L.A. airport," 25 Jan. 2021

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for deceit

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deceit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for deceit



English Language Learners Definition of deceit

: dishonest behavior : behavior that is meant to fool or trick someone


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

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