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 Evolving from shy quiet to finger-wagging accusations, Ocasio-Cortez leaned into the deception, and the Twitch environment, strategizing out loud and issuing low Oooooohs in spicy deliberations. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Storms Twitch," 20 Oct. 2020 And the networks, led by Fox News, will go along with this Trumpian deception, leading to massive conspiracy theories and violent outbreaks when Biden belatedly takes the lead a few days later. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Overblown Alarmism About a Trump Coup," 20 Oct. 2020 The plaintiffs say that informing on fellow Muslims would require deception and violate their religious beliefs. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Weighs Monetary Damages Under Religious Freedom Law," 6 Oct. 2020 Looking back, General McMaster, who has a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sees deception. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Fueling US-China clash, years of disconnects," 2 Oct. 2020 One answer is that in thinking about honesty, we’ve mostly been tuned into deception. Judi Ketteler, Scientific American, "We Need to Do More Research on Honesty," 20 Sep. 2020 In a troubling sign of the deception to come, Lori told a completely different story to JJ's school — Lauren's Institute for Education or LIFE. Jonathan Vigliotti, CBS News, "Chilling details revealed as police investigate deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan," 3 Oct. 2020 Veasey said he was tipped off to the deception even before his visit. Brian Chasnoff,, "‘Deceitful’: Postal union leader testifies that visiting U.S. congressman was duped during San Antonio post office visit," 2 Oct. 2020 The deception led to a loss of about 10 million francs ($11 million) for the bank and also hurt other clients, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Nicolas Parasie,, "Credit Suisse Cutting Jobs in Middle East in Wealth Management Overhaul," 29 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler for deception

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for deception

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deception.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deception


How to pronounce deception (audio)

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!