mis·lead | \ˌmis-ˈlēd \
misled\-ˈled \; 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 \-ˈlē-diŋ-lē \ 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

The San Diego County Gun Owner’s group has accused activists of misleading the public about how business gets done at Crossroads. Paul Sisson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Crossroads gun show returns to Del Mar, so do protesters," 15 July 2018 Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, says Republican lawmakers have misled the public about Strzok’s role for partisan purposes. Eliza Fawcett, latimes.com, "Controversial FBI official Peter Strzok denies bias against Trump affected his work," 12 July 2018 Clinton could have been impeached for misleading the public and lying to staff members, Kavanaugh argued then, according to The New York Times. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court nominee, helped write 'Starr Report'," 9 July 2018 Critics scoff at this as being misleading at best, as generally peerage titles are conferred by heredity or by the monarchy. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "Want to be a Scottish lord or lady? Opportunity beckons at suburban festival, where 'titles' will be sold," 16 June 2018 This raised concerns that Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, misled Trump officials about his conversations with Russian officials. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Who's been charged by Mueller in the Russia probe so far?," 13 July 2018 Kavanaugh’s Ivy League pedigree may stand out, but Trump, whose campaign is still under investigation, may not be as hot on his Clinton-era arguments in favor of impeaching a president for misleading the public. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Trump's Supreme Court Pick May Come From This List. Here's Where They Stand on Women's Issues.," 9 July 2018 Jenkins' campaign did provide the Tribune with documents appearing to support its claim that Arno misled it about the progress of the petition drive. Patrick Svitek, star-telegram, "After failing to crash Texas’ Senate race, independent candidate alleges Cruz campaign derailed him," 7 July 2018 Plus, Horowitz has already referred Comey’s former deputy at the FBI, McCabe, for criminal prosecution, saying McCabe misled investigators about his role in a pre-election leak about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "The long-awaited inspector general report on the FBI, Comey, Clinton, and 2016, explained," 14 June 2018

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

8 Oct 2018

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 \
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 \
misled\-ˈled \; 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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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