mis·​con·​strue ˌmis-kən-ˈstrü How to pronounce misconstrue (audio)
misconstrued; misconstruing

transitive verb

: 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
: 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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But Cheney said no one should misconstrue efforts to overhaul the Election Count Act as suggesting that Trump did not violate existing law. Billy House, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Sep. 2022 Venus now at the nadir of your solar chart is favorable for personal affections and lifestyle changes, but be careful not to misconstrue others behavior near the 24th. Katharine Merlin, Town & Country, 16 Sep. 2022 Robert Wachter, chair of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, said people can easily misconstrue the CDC five-day guidance as a personal assurance of no longer being contagious. Lena H. Sun, Joel Achenbach, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Aug. 2022 Emoji can be easy to misconstrue, but words are a little more direct. Chandra Steele, PCMAG, 8 June 2022 Policy makers may misconstrue this lack of self-harm as decreasing the urgency for authentic structural change in mental health care. Steven C. Schlozman, STAT, 24 May 2022 Herman said Illinois sales tax laws are complex, and that complexity creates an environment for retailers to potentially misconstrue the application of the laws to their sales activity. Chuck Fieldman, chicagotribune.com, 21 Mar. 2022 His allies say the NSBA and its affiliates allowed conservative activists who oppose public schools to misconstrue the letter as an attack on parents in an effort to silence a strong national voice. Laura Meckler, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Jan. 2022 Pope tweeted about the incident a few minutes later: Pope later tweeted another message that was difficult to misconstrue. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 26 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near misconstrue

Cite this Entry

“Misconstrue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misconstrue. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: to construe wrongly : misinterpret

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