misconstrue

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verb mis·con·strue \ ˌmis-kən-ˈstrü \
Updated on: 11 Sep 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!

First Known Use of misconstrue

15th century



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