mis·​in·​ter·​pret | \ ˌmi-sᵊn-ˈtər-prət How to pronounce misinterpret (audio) , -pət\
misinterpreted; misinterpreting; misinterprets

Definition of misinterpret

transitive verb

1 : to explain wrongly His comment on the speech misinterprets the speaker's meaning.
2 : to understand wrongly Her silence should not be misinterpreted as consent.

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Examples of misinterpret in a Sentence

He claims that his statements have been misinterpreted by the media. Her silence should not be misinterpreted as consent.

Recent Examples on the Web

Emojis can be especially misinterpreted when used without text, according to ABI Research analyst Stephanie Tomsett. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, "Emojis are increasingly coming up in court cases. Judges are struggling with how to interpret them," 8 July 2019 The Federal Flag Code says that unserviceable flags should be burned in a respectful, ceremonial manner, but do so discreetly so people don't misinterpret your intentions. Rebecca Deczynski, Good Housekeeping, "The Proper Etiquette for Flying the American Flag, Including on Memorial Day," 10 May 2019 National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday warned Iran on not to misinterpret Trump's decision against military retaliation after Iran downed a U.S. drone as a sign the United States won't use force to protect its interests in the Middle East. Editors, USA TODAY, "Trump and Iran, World Cup and SpaceX: 5 things you need to know Monday," 24 June 2019 The laws, which took effect in 2017, are straightforward requirements that would be hard to misinterpret, right? Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Sick leave 101 for employers: Attorney explains nuanced new rules," 9 June 2019 The aggression literature is easy to misinterpret, but people randomly assigned to use cannabis in the laboratory are no more hostile than those who receive a placebo. WSJ, "Arriving at the Least Bad Marijuana Policy," 11 Jan. 2019 Or perhaps there’s a small amount of correlation in the noise that caused the LIGO scientists to misinterpret their gravitational-wave signal. Quanta Magazine, "Strange Noise in Gravitational-Wave Data Sparks Debate," 30 June 2017 Every good love story has a moment in which the precious ingénue, blind to the complexities of the world, misinterprets the lover's move. Wired, "Flirty or Friendzone? New AI Scans Your Texts for True Love," 16 Sep. 2019 But guilt can easily be misinterpreted or internalized in a way that is not healthy. Washington Post, "Parental guilt is a cultural epidemic. It’s time to let go of who we ‘should’ be.," 21 Aug. 2019

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

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for misinterpret

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for misinterpret

The first known use of misinterpret was in 1547

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More Definitions for misinterpret



English Language Learners Definition of misinterpret

: to understand or explain (something) incorrectly : to interpret (something) incorrectly

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More from Merriam-Webster on misinterpret

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misinterpret

Spanish Central: Translation of misinterpret

Nglish: Translation of misinterpret for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misinterpret

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


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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