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 Cleveland Buckeyes Don't misconstrue this suggestion as an olive branch to the Ohio State fans who also root for the Cleveland baseball team. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Cleveland's baseball team will be looking for a new nickname. Here are 10 suggestions.," 14 Dec. 2020 Arguments that purposefully misconstrue the impacts of climate change on our ecosystems and communities increase our peril. Rebecca Miller, Scientific American, "Climate Change Is Central to California's Wildfires," 29 Oct. 2020 As a result, news organizations unequipped to cover an ironic president get lumped in with partisans who misconstrue his irony in bad faith. Dan Brooks, New York Times, "How President Trump Ruined Political Comedy," 7 Oct. 2020 But what if the nightmare scenarios that terrify Democrats misconstrue the threat? Damon Linker, TheWeek, "The 2000 presidential election, on steroids," 25 Sep. 2020 The tweets misconstrue federal data on COVID-19 victims. Daniel Funke, Detroit Free Press, "No, the CDC did not ‘quietly adjust’ US coronavirus deaths," 1 Sep. 2020 Through a spokesperson, Roberts said the wave might have been misconstrued. Brian Stelter, CNN, "In public, Trump bashed Fox. Behind closed doors, he had a friendly chat with its top correspondent," 22 May 2020 Zelenskiy, who took office last May, says his personnel changes have been misconstrued and have only one aim -- to get things done more quickly. Volodymyr Verbyany, Bloomberg.com, "The Impeachment Saga Is Over, But Zelenskiy Can’t Rest in Ukraine," 5 May 2020 The veterinary group, however, took issue with PetSmart's characterization, and said its advice had been misconstrued. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Pet store chains argue dog grooming is "essential" in pandemic," 17 Apr. 2020

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

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Cite this Entry

“Misconstrue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misconstrue. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for misconstrue



English Language Learners Definition of misconstrue

formal : to understand (something) incorrectly

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