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

Decades of misleading map projections might trick many Americans into guessing Maine, but the answer is actually one tiny town in Minnesota. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Tiny Minnesota Town Is Completely Surrounded by Canada," 5 Nov. 2018 The desire to demonize the left is misleading, and obviously so. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "We're Living in a Time of Cruel Laughing Men," 17 Oct. 2018 The company said the state had misled it by saying the drugs were being used for medical reasons. David Montero, latimes.com, "Nevada execution halted after drug company sues to stop it," 11 July 2018 Schaeffer, who had been Gold’s 50-percent partner since the company was founded in 2008, said in the memo that Mike Gold had misled him about the financial health of the company. Ron Hurtibise, Sun-Sentinel.com, "People's Trust Insurance gets second extension to submit audit of former CEO's spending," 19 June 2018 Some fell prey to human smugglers who misled them into paying huge sums and guaranteed that they would be offered asylum. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Trump talk of separating kids from parents at border makes old news go viral," 8 June 2018 Nor was Facebook equipped to handle the deluge of misleading news articles posted by Russian groups seeking to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, "Can AI Really Solve Facebook’s Problems?," 13 Apr. 2018 Most of them accuse Lightstone of misleading them about the mall’s future. Kyle Arnold, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Losing their home couldn't stop many former Artegon shops," 2 Apr. 2018 Tony Romm has an overview of platforms’ efforts to thwart voter suppression in the Washington Post; Reuters reported that Twitter has deleted more than 10,000 accounts attempting to mislead people about what day the election is on. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Four ways the internet changed the midterm elections," 7 Nov. 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

3 Dec 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

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