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

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Examples of misconstrue in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There are moments in political debates that get overblown, spun, or misconstrued. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "Kamala Harris: “I Would Like to Speak on the Issue of Race”," 28 June 2019 Wolves are misunderstood by the mainstream and misconstrued in pop culture, Salansky says. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "Can ‘wolf therapy’ open people up? One shaman aims to find out.," 26 June 2019 TtDoT's first playable build cannot in any way be misconstrued as a silly or tasteless interpretation of the earliest days of the Nazi regime. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "After 8Chan-gate, THQN unveils stirring anti-Nazi game set in 1930s Germany," 11 June 2019 Social media is often just a snapshot in time and can be totally misconstrued. Jessica Levy, Redbook, "The Internet Mom-Shamed Me. Here's What Happened Next.," 31 May 2017 Decades of behavioral economics research and shelves of popular literature have by now convinced us that the human mind is beset by cognitive biases, leading us to misunderstand the past, misconstrue the present and badly foresee the future. David A. Shaywitz, WSJ, "‘Farsighted’ Review: How to Make Up Your Mind," 11 Sep. 2018 Some state officials say the Russian attacks that made news in 2016 were misconstrued, and perhaps exaggerated, because federal officials failed to say quickly and clearly what was going on. Michael Wines, New York Times, "State Officials Say They Are Told Too Little About Election Threats," 19 Feb. 2018 Observers also note that Kavanaugh appears to have intentionally misconstrued components of his yearbook that could cast him in a negative light. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Everything that’s happened since the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing, explained," 2 Oct. 2018 Pete was recently accused by fans of being insensitive to Ariana's grandparents when a comment on Ariana's Instagram was misconstrued. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Pete Davidson Deletes All of His Instagram Posts," 23 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of misconstrue

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for misconstrue

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for misconstrue

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

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More Definitions for misconstrue



English Language Learners Definition of misconstrue

formal : to understand (something) incorrectly

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More from Merriam-Webster on misconstrue

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Spanish Central: Translation of misconstrue

Nglish: Translation of misconstrue for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misconstrue

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characterized by aphorism

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