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 Mulvaney tried to walk back his remarks later on Thursday, accusing the media of misconstruing them. Major Garrett, CBS News, "Mulvaney and Cipollone involved in internal White House feud over chief of staff job," 21 Oct. 2019 Mulvaney later claimed his comments had been misconstrued, but not before drawing the ire of the president and frustration from other senior aides. Jill Colvin, The Denver Post, "Trump scraps plan to host G-7 at his Doral golf resort," 20 Oct. 2019 By the final lines, Santiago’s epic battle is already being misconstrued and misunderstood. Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, "The Hemingway Scene That Shows How Humanity Works," 30 Aug. 2019 Jordan said Shaun’s role with him has been misconstrued at times by those outside the family circle. San Antonio Express-News, "“I hope he never forgets her because she loved him like there was no tomorrow.”," 5 July 2019 But time spent reading or composing one-to-one messages is measured no differently from mindless scrolling through angry threads misconstruing politics or pop culture. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "I Tried to Limit My Screen Time," 5 Sep. 2019 Taggart, with a Dasani water bottle in hand, said his comments about the team needing to hydrate earlier in the week during his radio show were misconstrued. Chaunte'l Powell, orlandosentinel.com, "FSU coach Willie Taggart clarifies hydration comments, says Seminoles are focused on ULM," 4 Sep. 2019 But the fact that hundreds of thousands of Californians supported a direct vote about a question with serious bearing on public health, where the facts are clear but widely misconstrued by certain activist groups, should give serious pause. Scientific American, "How Misinformation Spreads—and Why We Trust It," 3 Sep. 2019 Trump has been on a tear about Google that traces back to unfounded conspiracy theories about the technology giant, unproven claims by former Google employees and a small research study that the president misconstrued. Washington Post, "Trump attacks on Google recycle baseless claims," 20 Aug. 2019

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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Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for misconstrue

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

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More Definitions for misconstrue


How to pronounce misconstrue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of misconstrue

formal : to understand (something) incorrectly

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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

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