self-de·​cep·​tion ˌself-di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce self-deception (audio)
plural self-deceptions
: the act or an instance of deceiving oneself or the state of being deceived by oneself especially concerning one's true nature, feelings, etc.
the capacity for self-deception
Over time, [Henry] Marsh writes, many doctors start to internalize the stories they tell themselves about their superior judgment and skill. But the best, he adds, unlearn their self-deceptions, and come to accept their fallibility and learn from their mistakes.Jennifer Senior

Examples of self-deception in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As the moon and Neptune clash, self-deception is your biggest stumbling block. USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2024 In the trial, SBF’s self-deceptions finally hit reality. Leif Wenar, WIRED, 27 Mar. 2024 As the moon and Neptune clash, self-deception stirs up drama in your love life. USA TODAY, 6 Feb. 2024 At a time when the media and political-group spokespersons lie to us perpetually, Origin accepts their self-deceptions. Armond White, National Review, 24 Jan. 2024 Another—and perhaps more accurate—way to describe Gracie’s outlook would be to call it profound self-deception. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 1 Dec. 2023 Its big ideas come to us through bodies, their desires, their self-deception, their heartbreak. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2023 At the hour of death, the living find that self-deception is no longer possible. Isaac Lozano, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Oct. 2023 On TikTok, many young women in particular are currently showing how this little pinch of self-deception has helped them on their career path. Ursula Schmied, Glamour, 12 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-deception.' 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

1648, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-deception was in 1648

Dictionary Entries Near self-deception

Cite this Entry

“Self-deception.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the act of deceiving oneself : the state of being deceived by oneself
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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