de·​cep·​tion | \ di-ˈsep-shən \

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 \ -​shə-​nəl \ 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 European Union sees through this obvious deception. Daniel Schwammenthal, WSJ, "‘Anti-Zionism’ Threatens Europe’s Jews," 11 Dec. 2018 For more than a week, Facebook’s critics have wondered if the company will face any consequences for the dirty tricks and deceptions detailed in a Nov. 14 New York Times story. Eric Johnson, Recode, "It’s time for Facebook’s board to step up," 23 Nov. 2018 This requires much maneuvering, and some deception, often by phone. Misha Berson, The Seattle Times, "At ACT Theatre, ‘Oslo’ finds crackling drama in back-channel negotiations," 23 Oct. 2018 Many wondered how Mueller could possibly trust Cohen, giving his history of deception. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Mueller’s sentencing memo for Michael Cohen is very ominous for Trump," 8 Dec. 2018 In practice, that is prejudicial: Many schools treat virtually any behavior by the accuser—including actions that real courts properly interpret as evidence of deception—as consistent with truthfulness. Kc Johnson And, WSJ, "DeVos Keeps Her Promise on Campus Due Process," 18 Nov. 2018 Tracy Andrade, 47, 300 block of Old Indian Trail, Aurora, was charged with residential burglary and theft by deception at 12:06 p.m. Friday at her home, Aurora police said. Erika Wurst, Aurora Beacon-News, "Police: Aurora man charged with delivery of marijuana," 25 June 2018 Freed, who pleaded guilty in March to one count of second-degree theft by deception, admitted to using the money, stolen from 2010 to 2017, to pay bills and fund other personal expenses. Robert Moran,, "Ex-chief gets prison for $118,000 theft from his former Burlco rescue squad," 22 June 2018 Unfortunately, the subsequent deal struck by the United States and Russia to remove Assad’s chemical-weapons stockpiles was full of loopholes, weakly enforced, and ultimately circumvented by Syrian and Russian deception. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Erratic Threats to Bashar al-Assad," 15 Apr. 2018

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

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

Legal Definition of deception

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

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