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 In nearly abstract soundscapes, every aural texture is deliberately placed, often in a way calculated to mislead and surprise. Geoffrey O’brien, Harper's Magazine, "Constant Delighted Astonishment," 27 Apr. 2020 According to research by the Bruno Kessler Foundation in Italy, every day in March 2020 an average of 46,000 new posts on Twitter linked to inaccurate or misleading information about the crisis. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian Magazine, "How to Avoid Misinformation About COVID-19," 9 Apr. 2020 That review was centered on the regulation of plant sales, with a specific focus upon deceptive marketing practices which firms in that industry deployed to mislead consumers. Daniel Boguslaw, The New Republic, "Death Industry Predators Eye the Spoils of a Pandemic," 2 Apr. 2020 The United States has alleged that Meng and Huawei misled bank HSBC about its relationship with Iranian firm Skycomm in order to obtain financial services, putting the bank at risk of violating Iran sanctions. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Canadian prosecutors lay out case for why Huawei CFO Meng should be extradited to the United States," 22 Jan. 2020 However, the series is almost over and it hasn't been brought up, and some fans feel like they've been misled. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Shane Dawson Revealed Why He Hasn’t Included the James Charles/Tati Westbrook Drama in His YouTube Series," 13 Nov. 2019 Police said Carter also misled family and friends in the days and hours before her boyfriend’s death, People reported. Fox News, "Michelle Carter denied parole but will get early release after conviction in boyfriend's suicide: report," 22 Sep. 2019 Indeed, Bennett’s odd refusal to place any blame on Donald Trump for the policies of his administration only fuels the idea that the president is being misled by sinister forces — something one hears constantly from certain quarters of the right. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Cowardice Isn’t Driving the American Response to COVID-19," 17 Apr. 2020 Contrarians will use the diminished body count to argue that the panic was needless and that the public was misled. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "Our Pandemic Summer," 14 Apr. 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.

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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

6 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mislead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mislead. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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

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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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