mis·​con·​strue | \ ˌmis-kən-ˈstrü How to pronounce misconstrue (audio) \
misconstrued; misconstruing

Definition of misconstrue

transitive verb

1 : to interpret (something, such as a statement or action) wrongly : misinterpret misconstrued her words/meaning/silence He does not want his real name used in the newspaper because even the most innocent statement could be misconstrued here and lead to trouble, he says.— Lynne Duke I instantly turned away, lest he should see and misconstrue my emotion.— Anne Brontë
2 : to misinterpret the meaning, intention, or character of (someone) … it is the post-Vietnam revisionists who have most ironically misconstrued [Herman] Melville.— Frederick Crews … a sad sack whom no one would misconstrue as charming.— Karen Karbo

Examples of misconstrue in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Herman said Illinois sales tax laws are complex, and that complexity creates an environment for retailers to potentially misconstrue the application of the laws to their sales activity. Chuck Fieldman, chicagotribune.com, 21 Mar. 2022 His allies say the NSBA and its affiliates allowed conservative activists who oppose public schools to misconstrue the letter as an attack on parents in an effort to silence a strong national voice. Laura Meckler, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Jan. 2022 Pope tweeted about the incident a few minutes later: Pope later tweeted another message that was difficult to misconstrue. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 26 Sep. 2021 As Snopes reported at the time, the chain message appeared to misconstrue the 2007 kidnapping of 23 South Korean missionaries in Afghanistan. Daniel Funke, USA TODAY, 20 Aug. 2021 The other women appeared to deliberately misconstrue Williams’ need to make sure none of them were aligned with white supremacy. Kate Aurthur, Variety, 17 Aug. 2021 Reis also worries that some of the more aggressive social media fights against antisemitism may string together individual events to misconstrue the nature of anti-Jewish hate. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, 16 June 2021 Physicians who ascribe race as a risk factor for diseases like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease might miss a diagnosis in some cases may also misconstrue upstream, social determinants of health as innate genetic differences. Ashley Andreou, Scientific American, 7 June 2021 Some might hate this transformation taking place within college sports, but don't misconstrue it as a passing fad. Star Tribune, 3 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misconstrue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of misconstrue

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

5 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Misconstrue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misconstrue. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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