deceive

verb
de·​ceive | \ di-ˈsēv How to pronounce deceive (audio) \
deceived; deceiving

Definition of deceive

transitive verb

1 : to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid deceiving customers about the condition of the cars bluffing at poker in order to deceive the other players
2 archaic : ensnare … he it was whose guile … deceived the mother of mankind …— John Milton
3a obsolete : to be false to You have deceived our trust …— Shakespeare
b archaic : to fail to fulfill … nor are my hopes deceived.— John Dryden
4 archaic : to while away These occupations oftentimes deceived the listless hour …— William Wordsworth
5 obsolete : cheat deceived me of a good sum of money …— William Oldys

intransitive verb

: to make someone believe something that is not true : to practice deceit also : to give a false impression appearances can deceive

Other Words from deceive

deceiver noun
deceivingly \ di-​ˈsē-​viŋ-​lē How to pronounce deceive (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for deceive

deceive, mislead, delude, beguile mean to lead astray or frustrate usually by underhandedness. deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness. tried to deceive me about the cost mislead implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional. I was misled by the confusing sign delude implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth. we were deluded into thinking we were safe beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving. was beguiled by false promises

Examples of deceive in a Sentence

Her parents punished her for trying to deceive them. He was accused of deceiving the customer about the condition of the car. People who think they can eat whatever they want without harming their health are deceiving themselves. Remember that appearances can deceive—just because something looks good doesn't mean it is good.
Recent Examples on the Web According to the Associated Press, prosecutors alleged that Pam had attempted to deceive others with the same lie. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Apr. 2022 Meanwhile, overconfidence and other forms of self-deception enable us to better deceive others. Matthew Hutson, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2022 And while our capacity to accurately judge trust improved with time, our tendency to deceive others improved in turn, resulting in a never-ending cat and mouse game. Tomas Chamorro-premuzic, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Just as some spirit photographers duped their audiences long ago, there may be those who seek to deceive mourners. Leo Kim, Wired, 14 Mar. 2022 Perhaps the most efficient way to deceive a populace en masse in the social media era is not to try to convince them of falsehoods, but to discredit the media and sow doubt about the truth. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 Therefore, the cast had no choice but to deceive fans. Chris Smith, BGR, 23 Dec. 2021 In other words, the performance was not even intended to deceive. Marci Shore, The Atlantic, 11 Mar. 2022 The judge ruled that, even assuming Hu intended to deceive about his affiliation with that second university, there is no evidence that Hu intended to harm NASA. Fox News, 4 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of deceive

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for deceive

Middle English, from Anglo-French deceivre, from Latin decipere, from de- + capere to take — more at heave entry 1

Learn More About deceive

Time Traveler for deceive

Time Traveler

The first known use of deceive was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for deceive

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deceive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deceive. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for deceive

deceive

verb
de·​ceive | \ di-ˈsēv How to pronounce deceive (audio) \
deceived; deceiving

Kids Definition of deceive

1 : to cause to believe what is not true : mislead His lies deceived me.
2 : to be dishonest and misleading Appearances can deceive.

deceive

verb
de·​ceive
deceived; deceiving

Legal Definition of deceive

transitive verb

: to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid

intransitive verb

: to practice deceit — compare defraud, mislead

More from Merriam-Webster on deceive

Nglish: Translation of deceive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deceive for Arabic Speakers

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