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

The politics, and glorious deceit, of that agenda came into focus this week., "The back-alley mugging of the death penalty: Steve Duin," 16 Aug. 2019 Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez also said the alleged attempt to sell weapons while negotiating with the government reflected opposition deceit., "News of the Day From Around the World, July 14," 13 July 2019 Manipulating user preferences and using bot armies to leverage widespread deceit has disrupted societal cohesion and democratic processes. Wired Opinion, WIRED, "AI Algorithms Need FDA-Style Drug Trials," 15 Aug. 2019 Perhaps our hive mind compels us to look the other way, to avoid too many questions, to not think about how many other cells contain secret worlds of wealth, deceit and violence. Matt Farwell, The New Republic, "Jeffrey Epstein Chose New Mexico for a Reason," 15 Aug. 2019 Representation of transgender people was almost always negative, relying on transphobic tropes of deceit or mistaken identity, according to Sender’s research. Julie Moreau, NBC News, "For companies, LGBTQ-inclusive ads weren't always risk-free," 29 June 2019 But the tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as family man Gardner Lodge navigates the town’s dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit and violence. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 This deceit makes hitters’ decision-making that much harder. Joe Lemire,, "Pitchers veering outside strike zone more than ever to record a strikeout," 16 July 2019 Em shows that the AI can handle complicated situations with hidden information—an arena of deceit once thought to be the exclusive domain of human cunning. Nicolas Rivero, Quartz, "Facebook and the US Army funded an AI that can beat you at poker," 11 July 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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Statistics for deceit

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for deceit

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on deceit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deceit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deceit

Spanish Central: Translation of deceit

Nglish: Translation of deceit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deceit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on deceit

What made you want to look up deceit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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