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

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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

The US Securities and Exchange Commission also accused Facebook of deception, but of investors rather than of users. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "FTC fines Facebook $5 billion, imposes new privacy oversight," 24 July 2019 The law covers cases of deception that involve a medical procedure, drug or human reproductive material, such as sperm, eggs or embryos. Jacqueline Mroz, New York Times, "Their Children Were Conceived With Donated Sperm. It Was the Wrong Sperm.," 3 June 2019 There are better ways of beating back the tide of deception. Zeynep Tufekci, WIRED, "The Internet Has Made Dupes—and Cynics—of Us All," 24 June 2019 Poetry, long thought to be the product of creative purity – and almost anti-capitalist in its unmarketability – becomes a tool for deception and self-promotion in Ives’ capable hands. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Taking the male ego down a couple of notches," 13 June 2019 Any Republican who signs on to this deception should realize the cost of their betrayal is not just a massive tax increase, but the destruction of a fragile but growing Republican party identity that could grow to end one-party rule in Colorado. Jon Caldara, The Denver Post, "Caldara: Republican pigeons for Polis could betray TABOR and give the governor a special session win," 5 July 2019 Overmyer pleaded guilty in 2016 to felony counts of theft in office, theft of drug take-back boxes and deception of physicians to obtain prescription pain medication. Jona Ison,, "Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader indicted 16 charges," 28 June 2019 The game of deception that ensues is one that has fueled comedy for centuries: Frank tries to pass Philip off as the son of his best friend. Pat Padua, Twin Cities, "In comedy about cheating, cheap laughs overwhelm ‘Being Frank’," 27 June 2019 Not all of the war’s initial critics alleged bad faith and outright deception by the administration, of course. Hal Brands, National Review, "Lessons from the Iraq War," 20 June 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.

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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

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Statistics for deception

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for deception

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

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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

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Comments on deception

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a period when something is suspended

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