de·​ceit·​ful di-ˈsēt-fəl How to pronounce deceitful (audio)
: having a tendency or disposition to deceive or give false impressions:
: not honest
a deceitful person
: deceptive, misleading
deceitful advertising
deceitfully adverb
deceitfulness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for deceitful

dishonest, deceitful, mendacious, untruthful mean unworthy of trust or belief.

dishonest implies a willful perversion of truth in order to deceive, cheat, or defraud.

a swindle usually involves two dishonest people

deceitful usually implies an intent to mislead and commonly suggests a false appearance or double-dealing.

the secret affairs of a deceitful spouse

mendacious may suggest bland or even harmlessly mischievous deceit and when used of people often suggests a habit of telling untruths.

mendacious tales of adventure

untruthful stresses a discrepancy between what is said and fact or reality.

an untruthful account of their actions

Examples of deceitful in a Sentence

charged the store owner with such deceitful practices as inflating the list prices for items only so he could put them on sale at drastically reduced prices the deceitful salesman neglected to mention some important information about the used car
Recent Examples on the Web Willful ignorance You can’t be held responsible for a partner who is deceitful. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2024 The practice of amplifying these independent voices by paying for coverage can be seen as deceitful, dishonest, and mercenary by readers who aren’t aware of the bigger picture. Christopher Null, WIRED, 7 Feb. 2024 Haghighi unfolds in meticulous detail the identical couples’ differing circumstances (one couple has a child, more money, and legal trouble); the tense plot involves their risky and deceitful efforts to use their resemblances to solve their problems. The New Yorker, 19 Jan. 2024 Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and the Federal Trade Commission have filed a complaint against the Manchester City Nissan charging the auto dealer with deceitful business practices. Staff Reports, Hartford Courant, 5 Jan. 2024 Phoenix’s caricature reflects today’s popular disdain for colonialist Europe, embodying our broken sense of heroism — now the result of living through deceitful leadership. Armond White, National Review, 24 Nov. 2023 The announcement on Tuesday follows a lawsuit brought by the FTC against Amazon in June that accuses the company of using deceitful tactics in a yearslong effort to trick millions of customers into enrolling in its Prime subscription service. Max Zahn, ABC News, 26 Sep. 2023 This Lois’s beauty drew the attentions of the two most powerful men in Metropolis, Superman and Lex Luthor (played devilishly deceitful by John Shea). David Betancourt, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 The 23-page complaint alleges multiple allegations involving violations of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys, including filing a frivolous lawsuit, engaging in deceitful conduct, and knowingly making false statements. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, 16 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deceitful.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see deceit

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of deceitful was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near deceitful

Cite this Entry

“Deceitful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​ceit·​ful di-ˈsēt-fəl How to pronounce deceitful (audio)
: practicing or tending to practice trickery
: showing or containing deceit or fraud : deceptive
a deceitful answer
deceitfully adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on deceitful

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