mis·​con·​strue | \ˌmis-kən-ˈstrü \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of misconstrue in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 But Besh believes Reveal misconstrued the intent of those methods. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla’s on-site health clinic accused of undercounting worker injuries," 6 Nov. 2018 Unfortunately, Shapiro finds that people sometimes misconstrue models' motivations. Alina Cohen, Marie Claire, "6 Nude Models on What It's Like to Constantly Get Naked in Front of Scrutinizing Strangers," 2 June 2017 The three shared an unusual relationship, one that young Jennifer misconstrued. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Saturday: ‘The Tale’ and ‘From Here to Eternity’," 26 May 2018 Although the two fields do not share an abundance of similarities, both pro wrestling and pro fighting are team sports often misconstrued as individual endeavors. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "For CM Punk, Defamation Trial Proved to Be a Blessing in Disguise for UFC 225 Training," 7 June 2018 On the other hand, jurors heard testimony that could have caused them to question whether Punk exaggerated or misconstrued the severity of the injury in order to defame Amann. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "What Were the Key Factors Behind CM Punk Winning His Defamation Trial?," 5 June 2018 Introverted leaders prefer to think things through before speaking up or moving forward, which is often misconstrued for shyness, even disinterest. CBS News, "Introverts and the making of a "Quiet Revolution"," 8 July 2018 Reuters, the poll being cited by Trump in his claim, says its data is being misconstrued. Angela Helm, The Root, "We Knew When Trump Said His Numbers Doubled Among the Blacks That He Was Lying. Here’s Why," 8 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of misconstrue

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about misconstrue

Share misconstrue

Listen to Our Podcast about misconstrue

Statistics for misconstrue

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for misconstrue

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on misconstrue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misconstrue

Spanish Central: Translation of misconstrue

Nglish: Translation of misconstrue for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misconstrue

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


a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!