mis·​di·​rect | \ ˌmis-də-ˈrekt How to pronounce misdirect (audio) , -(ˌ)dī-\
misdirected; misdirecting; misdirects

Definition of misdirect

transitive verb

1 : to give a wrong direction to
2 : to direct wrongly misdirected their energies

Examples of misdirect in a Sentence

Their mail was misdirected to our address. If he tells you he's not interested, he's trying to misdirect you.

Recent Examples on the Web

The prey emits a glowing fluid or a cloud of sparks to misdirect the predator from its real location. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "How bioluminescence works in nature," 2 May 2019 China opened a probe because FedEx violated Chinese laws and regulations and harmed customers by misdirecting packages, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "China fines Ford for antitrust violations as trade war escalates," 5 June 2019 The new research is more systematic, looking at the underlying mechanisms behind both Meltdown and Spectre and running through all the different ways the speculative execution can be misdirected. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Spectre, Meltdown researchers unveil 7 more speculative execution attacks," 14 Nov. 2018 Virtually all of the Czech Republic’s other political parties declined to back Mr. Babis, citing the continuing prosecution of the agrochemical tycoon for allegedly misdirecting $2.5 million of EU funds into his own businesses. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Czech Premier Reaches Power-Sharing Deal With Communists," 10 July 2018 While the president has worked to distract and misdirect public attention from the investigation with outlandish claims, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation has moved quietly, steadily forward. Meg Kelly, Washington Post, "Video: The ‘scandals’ and progress of the Russia probe," 26 May 2018 But when the group is radically misdirected by a seriously Super-Villain and his maniacal plan to take over the Earth, things really go awry. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Advance Movie Screening for the Family," 2 July 2018 In the governor’s race alone, outside groups have collectively raised $29.5 million — more than any of the individual campaigns — and been responsible for most of the attacks, many designed to misdirect voters. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "How California political ads fool voters, while candidates keep hands clean," 30 May 2018 Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, called the tariff decision wrongheaded and misdirected. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Trump trade adviser says no exceptions for allies on new aluminum and steel tariffs," 4 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misdirect.' 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 misdirect

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about misdirect

Statistics for misdirect

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for misdirect

The first known use of misdirect was in 1603

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for misdirect



English Language Learners Definition of misdirect

: to use or direct (something) in a way that is not correct or appropriate
: to send (someone or something) to the wrong place
: to give (someone) incorrect information


mis·​di·​rect | \ ˌmis-də-ˈrekt How to pronounce misdirect (audio) \
misdirected; misdirecting

Kids Definition of misdirect

: to send to the wrong place The mail was misdirected.

More from Merriam-Webster on misdirect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with misdirect

Nglish: Translation of misdirect for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misdirect

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


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!