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

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 But other board members had concerns that advertising massage therapy and cuddle services on the same spa website could lead to confusion and cause clients to misconstrue the services offered. Anne Ryman, USA TODAY, "Client says Arizona massage therapist's 'cuddling' session turned sexual," 16 Aug. 2019 Where there is a real threat, it can be exaggerated, and its relationship with political opponents misconstrued. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Reflex toward Illiberal Democracy," 7 Aug. 2019 Hickenlooper’s response to a question about gender and running mates was misconstrued by some. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "John Hickenlooper’s presidential campaign is on pundits’ death watch," 1 Aug. 2019 Biden and campaign surrogates have pushed back against the criticism, saying his remarks were being misconstrued. Kirk Brown, USA TODAY, "Biden's comments on segregationist Senators loom over big weekend for South Carolina Dems," 21 June 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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Statistics for misconstrue

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for misconstrue

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

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English Language Learners Definition of misconstrue

formal : to understand (something) incorrectly

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More from Merriam-Webster on misconstrue

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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).


involving a confidence or trust

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