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

Keep scrolling for more

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 On Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump never lied or mislead the public. Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Says He Downplayed Virus Threat to Maintain U.S. Calm," 9 Sep. 2020 The dispute is over a loophole in Facebook’s leaky fact-checking operation that has allowed climate change deniers to circumvent fact-checkers and spread misinformation meant to mislead readers about the reliability of climate modeling. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Chilliest September 8 on Record at MSP, but Glorious 70s Return Next Week," 8 Sep. 2020 Facebook included rules against implicit attempts to mislead users about voting procedures in its efforts to end voter suppression through the platform. Wsj Noted., WSJ, "Here’s How Facebook Is Preparing to Combat Election Misinformation," 3 Sep. 2020 In his New York Times op-ed, Steve Rattner adds his name to the list of people willing to compromise their reputation to mislead the American people. Ed Conard, National Review, "Lies, Damned Lies, and Steve Rattner’s Statistics," 31 Aug. 2020 The inflated figures—which average around 60 percent for private clinics in the US, according to a 2012 article in the Indiana Law Journal—often mislead consumers. Popular Science, "Most Americans can’t afford fertility treatments anymore—so they’re going abroad," 24 Aug. 2020 Alphabet’s Google also announced an initiative on Thursday to distribute accurate voting information and fight efforts to mislead voters about the electoral process. Kurt Wagner, Fortune, "Facebook adds voting hub to combat election disinformation," 13 Aug. 2020 The Center for Voter Information also reportedly attempted to mislead voters into thinking the ballots came from an official government source. Nick Givas, Fox News, "Honest Elections Project criticizes Virginia group for mailing unsolicited ballot applications," 12 Aug. 2020 This test has no ability to reassure people, but a real ability to mislead. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "Paging Dr. Hamblin: Everyone Wants to Check My Temperature," 12 Aug. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of mislead

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mislead

Time Traveler for mislead

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for mislead

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mislead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mislead. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mislead


How to pronounce mislead (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!