du·​plic·​i·​tous | \ du̇-ˈpli-sə-təs How to pronounce duplicitous (audio) also dyu̇-\

Definition of duplicitous

: marked by duplicity : deceptive in words or action duplicitous tactics

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Other Words from duplicitous

duplicitously adverb

How to Remember What Duplicity Means

The idea of doubleness is at the core of duplicity. Duplicity comes from a Latin word meaning "double" or "twofold," and its original meaning in English has to do with a kind of deception in which you intentionally hide your true feelings or intentions behind false words or actions. If you are being duplicitous there are two yous: the one you're showing and the one you're hiding. And—key to the idea of duplicity—you're hiding that you in order to make people believe something that's not true.

The word is found in many works of literature, including the Bible:

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
— Proverbs 11:3 (New International Version)

Even when he sat opposite me in the kitchen, talking, he would turn his head a little toward the clock or the stove and look at me from the side, but with frankness and good nature. This trick did not suggest duplicity or secretiveness….
— Willa Cather, My Antonia, 1918

Arch read it at breakfast the day it came out and again that night. He admired its art but was most, affected, and in fact discomfited, by its unblinking inventory of self-seeking and duplicity.
— Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003

Examples of duplicitous in a Sentence

warned her not to trust the duplicitous art dealer

Recent Examples on the Web

Facebook is not the problem, although their duplicitous and coercive ploy to collect massive amounts of personal information should have been condemned from the get-go. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Not a Facebook fan; Dodging scooters on sidewalks; Remove the labels; We pay Conway’s salary (7/1/19)," 1 July 2019 Williamson and his family are thus not regarded as vulnerable targets of a calculating and duplicitous agent. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Analyzing the $100 Million Lawsuit Against Zion Williamson and CAA," 20 June 2019 More funding for investigators devoted to dissecting foundations the way Fahrenthold and the AG’s office have would be a good start, and help deter more wrongdoing as more duplicitous foundations learn that they might get caught. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The Trump Foundation shows just how preposterously light our oversight of charity is," 20 Dec. 2018 Blair thinks Vanessa is being duplicitous in helping Serena, but none of them do anything about it. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 2018 Others questioned what his tolerance level would be for the game within the game, duplicitous to the level of dirty, according to recent allegations and reports. Harvey Araton, New York Times, "Chris Mullin Preaches the Power of One Day at a Time," 6 Mar. 2018 For Brexit to succeed we must get rid of this awful, duplicitous PM. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "The U.K. Brexit Secretary Has Quit Just Days Before Trump Visits Embattled PM Theresa May. Here's What It Means," 9 July 2018 The rhetoric of the NFFA is just passable enough to seem plausible, chiefly conveyed by actor Patch Darragh as a doughy, duplicitous chief of staff who wears his arrogant privilege like another tacky lapel pin. Mark Olsen, latimes.com, "Review: 'The First Purge' delivers genre pleasures with a timely message of resilience," 3 July 2018 The Iranians we exquisitely duplicitous in steering everybody way from anything that was interesting to look at under their agreement that was signed then happily taken apart by President Trump. Fox News, "Woolsey: Trump keeps the North Koreans off balance," 12 June 2018

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

1928, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for duplicitous

see duplicity

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Statistics for duplicitous

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for duplicitous

The first known use of duplicitous was in 1928

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More Definitions for duplicitous


du·​plic·​i·​tous | \ dü-ˈpli-sə-təs, dyü- How to pronounce duplicitous (audio) \

Legal Definition of duplicitous

: marked by duplicity a duplicitous indictment

More from Merriam-Webster on duplicitous

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for duplicitous

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


a period when something is suspended

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