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

Within a month, the Animal Legal Defense Fund plans to amend its lawsuit to ask for $200 in compensation for every Oregonian who has allegedly been misled by Tillamook's marketing campaign, said Amanda Howell, staff attorney for the fund. oregonlive.com, "Tillamook cheese comes mostly from cows kept in concrete and dirt feedlots, not green pastures, lawsuit says," 20 Aug. 2019 The bank has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and claimed that it was misled by rogue employees who intentionally deceived its legal and compliance teams. Jill Disis, CNN, "Goldman Sachs' top international banker among 17 charged over 1MDB scandal," 9 Aug. 2019 Reviewers and professionals often cited oversimplifications and said readers might be misled. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Martin Mayer, Prolific and Protean Author and Critic, Dies at 91," 1 Aug. 2019 The defense also pointed out that not a single state witness testified that they were misled by Johnson & Johnson or any of its subsidiaries, claiming that Oklahoma failed to prove the company caused the crisis. NBC News, "Oklahoma's multibillion-dollar case against Johnson & Johnson rests in hands of judge," 15 July 2019 The Justice Department previously has said Deutsche Bank was misled by 1MDB officers. Jenny Strasburg, WSJ, "Trump Calls Deutsche Bank ‘Maligned’," 11 July 2019 Bearden claims he was also misled about the sale of the home. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "The 'Flipping Exes' baggage Bravo's not talking about: Bankruptcy, lawsuits, late taxes," 8 July 2019 Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon said in a court filing Monday that he was misled by the now-defunct Alliance of American Football and should get his $70 million investment back. Melissa Repko, Dallas News, "Dallas billionaire wants a $70 million refund for investment in failed Alliance of American Football," 25 June 2019 Durant is frustrated with the Warriors’ training team over his Achilles injury, wondering if he was misled about the calf injury that came before, according to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "Kevin Durant free agency tracker: Nets, Warriors, Knicks in mix," 24 June 2019

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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Statistics for mislead

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mislead

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

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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 misled (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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More from Merriam-Webster on mislead

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mislead

Spanish Central: Translation of mislead

Nglish: Translation of mislead for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mislead for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mislead

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


to spread over or through

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