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

But Jordan Smith, assistant solicitor general arguing on behalf of the Nevada Department of Corrections, said the state purchased the drugs properly and there was never any deception on its part. David Montero,, "Nevada execution halted after drug company sues to stop it," 11 July 2018 It was intended as a guide to concealment and deception in a modern, mechanized war and proposes a range of strategies to protect from air attack. Mary Horlock, Longreads, "The Camouflage Artist: Two Worlds Wars, Two Loves, and One Great Deception," 21 June 2018 Cruelty, deception and corruption inevitably leak through and taint the work and the lives of all those associated. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, "When the Barrier Between Personal Misconduct and Professional Competence Crumbles," 15 Feb. 2018 The combination of the President's silence and his deception of his aides had the effect of presenting a false view of events to the grand jury. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Brett Kavanaugh, Trump and what the Starr Report says about impeachment, annotated," 11 July 2018 That all comes from a funky arm slot that adds to his deception. ... Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "'A significant amount of talent.' National experts on Royals' first-day draft picks," 5 June 2018 Our self-deceptions have been shown to be quite changeable. Steve Ayan, Scientific American, "10 Things You Don’t Know About Yourself," 15 May 2018 Upon her return, the suspect admitted to making up the injury and was charged with deception, falsification and obstructing official business. Cheryl Higley,, "Man charged in child porn case: North Ridgeville police," 7 May 2018 Every day, the curators sought to contain the inferno of deception by dousing the blaze with journalistic sensibility, ensuring false and extremely skewed stories did not reach the trending topics list for the entire nation to see. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "How Facebook fired workers who blocked 'fake news' — 'After the Fact' book excerpt," 6 May 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

2 Nov 2018

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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 \

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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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).


noxious or harmful

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