misconstrue

verb mis·con·strue \ ˌmis-kən-ˈstrü \
Updated on: 23 Nov 2017

Definition of misconstrue

misconstrued; misconstruing
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

misconstrue was our Word of the Day on 10/30/2010. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of misconstrue from the Web

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



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