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

At Thursday’s trial, an attorney for the property management company argued that McClendon was misleading about her income and how many people lived at her apartment. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "‘I’m scared:’ Single mother of five fights eviction from SF public housing," 11 July 2019 View Sample Sign Up Now That claim is misleading: emissions rose in the U.S. last year and Trump’s policies are likely to make future reductions less likely. Justin Worland, Time, "Donald Trump Called Climate Change a Hoax. Now He's Awkwardly Boasting About Fighting It," 10 July 2019 Bhogal's products were misleading customers who thought Bhogal's merchandise was affiliated with Antetokounmpo, according to the complaint. Alexa Buechler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo sues artist for selling 'Greek Freak' merchandise," 10 July 2019 The country's competition regulator filed a lawsuit against Samsung, alleging that the ads were misleading. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Samsung faces lawsuit over water resistant smartphone claims," 4 July 2019 Bad website user interfaces are perhaps the worst part of the internet: spammy pop-ups designed to trick you, dark patterns that are intentionally misleading, and just plain obtuse design decisions that make filling out a form virtual hell. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "‘User Inyerface’ teaches you about terrible modern web design by making you suffer through it," 3 July 2019 Justices are not supposed to weigh the merits of proposed constitutional amendments but look at issues such as whether the proposals involve single subjects and whether ballot titles and summaries are misleading. Jim Saunders, orlandosentinel.com, "Politicians, business leaders fight amendment that would revamp Florida’s electricity laws," 25 June 2019 But Garcia said the containment percentage may be misleading, as the fire is no longer an active threat. Chris Coppola, azcentral, "Crews make progress on Mountain Fire north of Cave Creek; fire in Superstition Wilderness expands," 10 June 2019 Attorneys for Wu and the family have said Singer misled them into thinking the money would help fund scholarships and salaries at the prestigious school. Matthew Ormseth, latimes.com, "College admissions scandal mastermind found fertile hunting grounds in wealth management world," 21 June 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

16 Jul 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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