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 Lies are more common than truth in his court, and Guinevere must discover which deceits are dangerous to her king and which are dangerous to her heart. Washington Post, "The best YA fantasy to read now," 24 Dec. 2019 The film’s release is not without controversy after a New Yorker piece published in February (which could spawn its own suspense novel) alleged the book’s author, born Dan Mallory, has engaged in deceit throughout his career. Nick Romano,, "The Woman in the Window," 19 Dec. 2019 Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the gaslighter uses misdirection, contradiction and deceit to make his target question his memory, perceptions and even sanity. Anchorage Daily News, "His new assistant seemed so helpful and proactive. Was he being ‘gaslighted’?," 17 Dec. 2019 The parallels seemed obvious to the woman who lived with both of them: the constant need for a fix, the deceit involved in hiding their habits, the inability to quit. Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, "He played for 72 hours straight: South Korea wrestles with video game addiction," 17 Oct. 2019 Smith's style was to cut through confusion by presenting detailed facts and figures, particularly in response to Trump's deceit. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Bill Hemmer to succeed Shep Smith as Fox's afternoon news anchor," 9 Dec. 2019 Their desperation does not excuse savagery and deceit. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Mail," 8 Dec. 2019 Ignorance is different than deceit and sometimes more dangerous. Nancy Gibbs, Time, "The Danger of Donald Trump’s Ignorance," 1 Oct. 2019 Rosen added that Sloane's deceit is worse than Huffman's. NBC News, "L.A. exec who got son into USC as fake water polo recruit gets 4 months in prison," 24 Sep. 2019

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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deceit.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for deceit


How to pronounce deceit (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on deceit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deceit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deceit

Spanish Central: Translation of deceit

Nglish: Translation of deceit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deceit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on deceit

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