mis·​lead | \ ˌmis-ˈlēd How to pronounce mislead (audio) \
misled\ ˌmis-​ˈled How to pronounce mislead (audio) \; misleading

Definition of mislead

transitive verb

: to lead in a wrong direction or into a mistaken action or belief often by deliberate deceit His comments were a deliberate attempt to mislead the public.

intransitive verb

: to lead astray : give a wrong impression exciting as they are, they mislead— E. M. Forster

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Other Words from mislead

misleader noun
misleadingly \ ˌmis-​ˈlē-​diŋ-​lē How to pronounce mislead (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for mislead

deceive, mislead, delude, beguile mean to lead astray or frustrate usually by underhandedness. deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness. tried to deceive me about the cost mislead implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional. I was misled by the confusing sign delude implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth. we were deluded into thinking we were safe beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving. was beguiled by false promises

Examples of mislead in a Sentence

We believe that her comments were deliberately meant to mislead the public. We believe that her comments were deliberately meant to mislead.
Recent Examples on the Web To mislead attendees into believing that all questions had been heard is doubly so. Jerry Bowyer, National Review, "A Shareholder Asks Some Inconvenient Questions," 5 May 2021 Also, there’s concern that incident reports could mislead prospective guests and tarnish a ski area’s reputation, Reitzell said. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why it's difficult to get detailed information when skiers die at California resorts," 5 May 2021 The defunct blood-testing startup, which was once valued at as much as $9 billion, unraveled amid what prosecutors describe as a massive scheme masterminded by Holmes and the company’s president to mislead investors, doctors and patients. Joel Rosenblatt Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "Theranos founder can cite Silicon Valley hyperbole in defense," 4 May 2021 The hearing next week will help unpackage the role social media played in feeding people disinformation, false information which is intended to mislead, which played a large role in many Republicans distrusting the results of the 2020 election. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Big Tech CEOs to be grilled over disinformation on their platforms and its role in Capitol riot," 20 Mar. 2021 Such gender stereotypes could mislead girls into believing that the most important thing in life is to be pretty, Blakemore said in an interview with the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "California bill would eliminate "boys" and "girls" toy sections in stores," 8 Mar. 2021 In 2019, ClientEarth submitted a complaint about a clean energy advertising campaign from oil company BP, which the lawyers said would mislead the public. David Vetter, Forbes, "Oil And Coal Firms Guilty Of ‘Great Deception’ Through Greenwashing, Say Climate Lawyers," 19 Apr. 2021 The union said its challenge, which was not immediately made public, would claim Amazon used tactics to mislead and intimidate workers. Washington Post, "The labor movement is working to regroup, with emotions high after a veteran organizer wrote a sharp critique of the union’s tactics in Alabama," 18 Apr. 2021 Fund returns have just taken some of the biggest, fastest swings in history—and could mislead investors who aren’t paying attention. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Don’t Be Fooled by This Stock Market’s Newest Magic Trick," 9 Apr. 2021

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for mislead

Time Traveler

The first known use of mislead was before the 12th century

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Statistics for mislead

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mislead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mislead. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mislead



English Language Learners Definition of mislead

: to cause (someone) to believe something that is not true


mis·​lead | \ mis-ˈlēd How to pronounce mislead (audio) \
misled\ -​ˈled \; misleading

Kids Definition of mislead

: to cause (someone) to believe something that is not true His comments were intended to mislead the public.


mis·​lead | \ mis-ˈlēd How to pronounce mislead (audio) \
misled\ -​ˈled How to pronounce mislead (audio) \; misleading

Legal Definition of mislead

transitive verb

: to lead into a mistaken action or belief : to cause to have a false impression

intransitive verb

: to create a false impression — compare deceive

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