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 GLAAD’s Megan Townsend, who helps advise media outlets on how to cover the bisexual community, says that the term bisexual can be just as inclusive, and that the prefix bi- is misleading. Time, "What Does 'Pansexual' Mean? Behind the Rise of the Word," 7 Jan. 2020 Although the premise of Welcome to Plathville may not be as obviously misleading, there are a number of questionable elements that deserve a closer look. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "Is TLC's 'Welcome to Plathville' Fake? People Seem to Think So," 7 Dec. 2019 Other ads seemed designed to mislead viewers about who was behind them. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "A precious-metals scheme used fear and Facebook to trick older conservatives out of their savings," 18 Nov. 2019 The incentive may be for both sides to mislead the other. The Economist, "Artificial intelligence and war," 5 Sep. 2019 Sadly, those of us who presumed the franchise was ready to move into the 21st century by casting a woman of color in the leading role have been misled. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lashana Lynch Probably Isn't the New James Bond, but She Is the New 007," 21 July 2019 Immigrants and activists say ICE’s death toll is misleading since the agency doesn’t count cases of people who die shortly after they are released from custody. USA Today, "Deaths in custody. Sexual violence. Hunger strikes. What we uncovered inside ICE facilities across the US," 20 Dec. 2019 Babylon Health has also encountered public controversy by making certain claims that critics have described as misleading. Jeremy Hsu, Quartz, "How using a medical startup’s AI “symptom checker” could go very wrong," 13 Dec. 2019 One of the ways solid materials mislead us is by suggesting the particles in them aren’t active, but solidity and liquidity are usually the result of chemical reactions themselves. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The Coldest Chemical Reaction in the Known Universe Just Happened," 3 Dec. 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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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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mislead.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misleading. Accessed 18 January 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

Comments on mislead

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