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

When does an op-ed that Weintraub or the mavens of Silicon Valley disagree with or don’t like become an impermissible effort to mislead? Hans A. Von Spakovsky, National Review, "FEC Chair Embarks Down the High-Tech Road to Censorship," 12 Sep. 2019 Following an at-times grueling bench trial, Ulmer ruled that the property management firm had misled McClendon and acted in bad faith on a number of occasions in its efforts to evict her. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "Judge blocks eviction of SF mom and five kids, citing ‘bad faith’ of property manager," 20 Aug. 2019 The giant amethyst geode is misleading seeing as how those aren't found in the cave nor this part of the country. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Too much cheese at Lambeau and more hilarious one-star ratings of popular Wisconsin attractions," 13 Aug. 2019 The research reveals that the platform was used to mislead voters in increasingly sophisticated ways. Nic Cheeseman, Quartz Africa, "The sophisticated ways WhatsApp was used by political operatives in Nigeria’s 2019 elections," 30 July 2019 And the close games weren’t misleading: Texas was actually outgained in yards per play (the Longhorns defense allowed 5.6 YPP, offense averaged 5.5 YPP last season). Max Meyer, SI.com, "College Football Win Totals: Best Bets in the Big 12," 23 July 2019 The lawsuit, filed in October 2017, alleged that Musk and Tesla knowingly misled shareholders about the Model 3 production ramp-up. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Tesla’s new chairwoman is walking into SEC and DOJ probes," 9 Nov. 2018 Investigators, however, maintained that Moseley misled his attorneys. Steve Vockrodt, kansascity, "Another Kansas City payday lender is off to prison, this time for 10 years," 12 June 2018 But if she wasn't given a full explanation for the suspension then the court could rule she was misled. Max Foster, CNN, "A high-stakes Brexit court case could force the Queen to pick a side," 17 Sep. 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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Statistics for mislead

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

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 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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