self-de·​ceive ˌself-di-ˈsēv How to pronounce self-deceive (audio)
self-deceived; self-deceiving; self-deceives

intransitive verb

: to deceive oneself especially concerning oneself
Faced with the choice between attributing their performance to the presence of the answers or their own ability, people chose to self-deceive, convincing themselves that their performance was due not to the answers but to themselves.Zoë Chance et al.
self-deceived adjective
One of her [Jane Austen's] novels, Emma, is narrated so much through the consciousness of its self-deceived heroine that the reader too keeps being deceived. John Mullan
We are all invited … to change or to retrench and double down on the self-deceived notion that we have things all figured out. Tim Suttle
self-deceiving adjective
self-deceiving people/beliefs
self-deceiver noun
plural self-deceivers
Self-deceivers are people who don't see their own values, motives and beliefs clearly. Robert Lynch

Examples of self-deceive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There is something self-deceiving about Israel’s determination to pursue only revenge against Hamas rather than peace with the Palestinians. Raja Shehadeh, The New York Review of Books, 10 Oct. 2023 The fact that everybody is a liar, the fact that people are hopelessly self-deceived about their own actions and intentions doesn’t mean that there isn’t truth. David Marchese David Marchese Photograph By Mamadi Doumbouya, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2023 Ron tells Ricky — and all are self-deceiving about their own faults. Vulture, 6 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-deceive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1617, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-deceive was in 1617

Dictionary Entries Near self-deceive

Cite this Entry

“Self-deceive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

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