deceive

verb
de·​ceive | \di-ˈsēv \
deceived; deceiving

Definition of deceive 

transitive verb

1 archaic : ensnare … he it was whose guile … deceived the mother of mankind …— John Milton

2a obsolete : to be false to You have deceived our trust …— Shakespeare

b archaic : to fail to fulfill … nor are my hopes deceived.— John Dryden

3 obsolete : cheat deceived me of a good sum of money …— William Oldys

4 : 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

5 archaic : to while away These occupations oftentimes deceived the listless hour …— William Wordsworth

intransitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from deceive

deceiver noun
deceivingly \-​ˈsē-​viŋ-​lē \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In South Korea, they were often deceived by local agents who recruited them promising factory work. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "AP Explains: Dispute between Seoul, Tokyo over WWII brothels," 21 Nov. 2018 The charges accused them of deceiving investors about high rates of late payments and defaults on student loans backed by the company. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, latimes.com, "Defunct for-profit college firm ITT's former executives settle fraud charges," 10 July 2018 The inspector general's office concluded in a report earlier this year that McCabe had repeatedly deceived investigators and referred the matter for potential criminal prosecution to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington. Eric Tucker, chicagotribune.com, "Lawsuit says DOJ not providing documents to ex-FBI official Andrew McCabe," 13 June 2018 To make an already very long story short, my delightfully confident boyfriend of four years turned out to be quite the deceiving devil. Anna Silman, The Cut, "7 Women on Getting Pete-and-Ariana-ed by Their Exes," 12 June 2018 His dismissal followed a report from the inspector general's office earlier this year that concluded McCabe repeatedly deceived investigators. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Fired FBI official Andrew McCabe's lawyers file suit against FBI, DOJ and its watchdog," 2 Oct. 2018 Humans don't seem particularly tough compared to other animals, but looks can be deceiving. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Humanity's Secret Weapon Is Surviving in Tough Climates," 31 July 2018 The initial complaint filed in 2012 by former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman claimed that the firm had deceived investors in 2006 and 2007 regarding its risk evaluations of mortgage loans underlying the securities. Robert Barba, WSJ, "N.Y. Court Ruling Narrows Use of Antifraud Law in Credit Suisse Case," 12 June 2018 His size is deceiving, because Ward can really hit. Bill Landis, cleveland.com, "Who is Denzel Ward? Why your favorite team just picked him the 2018 NFL Draft," 26 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of deceive

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for deceive

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deceive

Statistics for deceive

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deceive

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deceive

deceive

verb

English Language Learners Definition of deceive

: to make (someone) believe something that is not true

deceive

verb
de·​ceive | \di-ˈsēv \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on deceive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deceive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deceive

Spanish Central: Translation of deceive

Nglish: Translation of deceive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deceive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on deceive

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a typical or ideal example

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!