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 The problem comes in its ability to be manipulated, abused and misinterpreted. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "CEOs’ favorite metric could be described as a ‘religion’," 21 May 2020 After a comment Fauci made during the hearing about vaccine development and reopening schools was apparently misinterpreted, Alexander gave Fauci a chance to clarify. Fox News, "Hunker down: Some states say no full-scale reopening until coronavirus vaccine, treatment is ready," 19 May 2020 Colbert’s show had a similar effect, even though some viewers misinterpreted his deadpan humor and mistook the host for a real climate change doubter. National Geographic, "Flower Farm," 13 May 2020 Scientists who are incorrect or misguided, or who misinterpret data, might wrongly persuade others, causing more to die when salutatory actions are rejected or delayed. Vinay Prasad, STAT, "Scientists who express different views on Covid-19 should be heard, not demonized," 27 Apr. 2020 Brenner, meanwhile, issued a statement apologizing to Acton, who is Jewish, while also saying his Facebook post, reacting to a post from his wife, was misreported and misinterpreted. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine denounces state senator for comment on post that equated anti-coronavirus measures with Nazi Germany," 23 Apr. 2020 Other patients have reported experiencing being taken to the MRI machine as being put into an oven or misinterpreting overhead conversations as plans to kill them—then lying awake for hours trying to escape. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "Life After the ICU," 22 Apr. 2020 Jay and Phil share a fun, final awkward bonding moment when Phil misinterprets Jay and tries to spoon him. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Modern Family co-creator breaks down the emotional series finale," 9 Apr. 2020 But residents against the tree nursery said the community's desire for trees was misinterpreted. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit residents fight back on proposed tree nursery near vacant Herman Kiefer hospital," 16 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for misinterpret

Time Traveler

The first known use of misinterpret was in 1547

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Statistics for misinterpret

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Misinterpret.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misinterpret. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for misinterpret


How to pronounce misinterpret (audio)

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

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