de·​cep·​tion | \ di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio) \

Definition of deception

1a : the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid : the act of deceiving resorting to falsehood and deception used deception to leak the classified information
b : the fact or condition of being deceived the deception of his audience
2 : something that deceives : trick fooled by a scam artist's clever deception

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from deception

deceptional \ di-​ˈsep-​shə-​nəl How to pronounce deceptional (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for deception

deception, fraud, double-dealing, subterfuge, trickery mean the acts or practices of one who deliberately deceives. deception may or may not imply blameworthiness, since it may suggest cheating or merely tactical resource. magicians are masters of deception fraud always implies guilt and often criminality in act or practice. indicted for fraud double-dealing suggests treachery or at least action contrary to a professed attitude. a go-between suspected of double-dealing subterfuge suggests the adoption of a stratagem or the telling of a lie in order to escape guilt or to gain an end. obtained the papers by subterfuge trickery implies ingenious acts intended to dupe or cheat. resorted to trickery to gain their ends

Examples of deception in a Sentence

She accuses the company of willful deception in its advertising. His many deceptions did not become known until years after he died.

Recent Examples on the Web

Theft by fraud or deception was reported Aug. 21 in the 2600 block of McHard Road, police said. Houston Chronicle, "Pearland police report drug-related arrests," 6 Sep. 2019 Auburn uses a lot of different variations of its formations, unbalanced offensive lines, sugar huddles, pre-snap motions and other means of deception and distraction to try and impact opposing defense. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Isaac Slade-Matautia earns praise in debut as Oregon Ducks’ starting middle linebacker," 6 Sep. 2019 On the hill for the Astros: Zack Greinke, acquired as the final trade deadline seconds ticked off to add deception and finesse to a powerful and devastating Houston rotation. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Despite Sunday’s loss, Athletics look to be at its best series win over the Astros," 18 Aug. 2019 And this was a season in need of that kind of self-deception. New York Times, "Stephen Curry Finally Gets Some Rest (but Only From Basketball)," 21 June 2019 The Burlington resident pleaded guilty to theft by deception in July. Chris Mayhew,, "Prosecutor said he sought prison, not just jail, for NKY woman who faked cancer to profit," 10 Sep. 2019 He was indicted on first-degree felony charges of theft, money laundering and securing execution of a document by deception. Erin Douglas, Houston Chronicle, "Oilman already sentenced 18 years faces new indictment in Harris County," 18 July 2019 New species of digital fraud and deception come to light almost every week, if not every day: Russian bots that pretend to be American humans. Zeynep Tufekci, WIRED, "The Internet Has Made Dupes—and Cynics—of Us All," 24 June 2019 Reader has been charged with tampering with evidence, tampering with records, theft, conflict of interest and securing writings by deception on June 28, according to court records. Madeline Mitchell,, "Auditor's report on Pike County Sheriff: Gambling, seized cash and impounded vehicles," 3 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deception.' 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 deception

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for deception

Middle English decepcioun, from Anglo-French deception, from Late Latin deception-, deceptio, from Latin decipere to deceive

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deception

Statistics for deception

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deception

The first known use of deception was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deception



English Language Learners Definition of deception

: the act of making someone believe something that is not true : the act of deceiving someone
: an act or statement intended to make people believe something that is not true


de·​cep·​tion | \ di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio) \

Kids Definition of deception

1 : the act of making someone believe something that is not true Magicians are masters of deception.
2 : trick entry 1 sense 1 His clever deception fooled me.


de·​cep·​tion | \ di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio) \

Legal Definition of deception

1 : an act of deceiving
2 : something that deceives : deceit

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on deception

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


a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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