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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The goal: to deceive doctors and their patients into believing the painkiller wasn’t addictive. Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express-News, 22 Sep. 2021 The case hinges on whether Ms. Holmes intended to deceive investors and others and whether she was manipulated by Mr. Balwani. Erin Griffith, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2021 His campaign accused California elections officials of trying to deceive voters. Michael R. Blood And Kathleen Ronayne, Star Tribune, 22 July 2021 Committee members need to seek the truth, not -- as was clearly the intent of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in tapping rabid Trump partisans for the spots -- to try to deceive the American people. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 27 July 2021 Reconstruction’s failure shows that national campaigns to deceive and mislead the public about white-nationalist violence have worked before. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 11 Aug. 2021 Maybe after Covid, scientists who are convinced of their own political neutrality will deceive themselves and the rest of us less often. WSJ, 30 July 2021 Who could endure that raw-nerve sensitivity to the power of language to love, to deceive, to promise, to kill? Washington Post, 13 July 2021 High jumper Danil Lysenko was handed a six-year ban over an elaborate attempt to deceive anti-doping authorities, in a case which showed senior Russian track and field officials colluding to break the rules. BostonGlobe.com, 6 July 2021

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.

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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

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Learn More About deceive

Time Traveler for deceive

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for deceive

Last Updated

26 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deceive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deceive. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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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 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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