deception

noun

de·​cep·​tion di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio)
1
a
: the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid : the act of deceiving
resorting to falsehood and deception
used deception to leak the classified information
b
: the fact or condition of being deceived
the deception of his audience
2
: something that deceives : trick
fooled by a scam artist's clever deception
deceptional adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for deception

deception, fraud, double-dealing, subterfuge, trickery mean the acts or practices of one who deliberately deceives.

deception may or may not imply blameworthiness, since it may suggest cheating or merely tactical resource.

magicians are masters of deception

fraud always implies guilt and often criminality in act or practice.

indicted for fraud

double-dealing suggests treachery or at least action contrary to a professed attitude.

a go-between suspected of double-dealing

subterfuge suggests the adoption of a stratagem or the telling of a lie in order to escape guilt or to gain an end.

obtained the papers by subterfuge

trickery implies ingenious acts intended to dupe or cheat.

resorted to trickery to gain their ends

Example Sentences

She accuses the company of willful deception in its advertising. His many deceptions did not become known until years after he died.
Recent Examples on the Web If they had been recruited onto the planes with false promises, that deception could be criminal. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2023 There is a rich and detailed precedent for deception being used to delay the demise of fossil fuels. Ketan Joshi, The New Republic, 18 Jan. 2023 Exxon Supran said the new study could have massive practical implications for ongoing attempts to hold Exxon accountable for its history of climate deception. Dharna Noor, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Jan. 2023 But Robert-Houdin and Hofzinser presented themselves as respectable gentlemen of European modernity, legitimizing the idea of deception as entertainment. Shuja Haider, New York Times, 2 Jan. 2023 But this isn’t the gold standard of discovery because when money is exchanged, there’s always the chance for deception. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 28 Dec. 2022 Through deception, predators convince a young person to produce an explicit video or photo, according to the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Luke Barr, ABC News, 19 Dec. 2022 Apparently, her eye for deception is just as weak as her eye for fashion. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 11 Dec. 2022 Catfishing is a form of online deception in which people use fake photos and identities to create a fictional persona. Faith Karimi, CNN, 3 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deception.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English decepcioun, from Anglo-French deception, from Late Latin deception-, deceptio, from Latin decipere to deceive

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of deception was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near deception

Cite this Entry

“Deception.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deception. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

deception

noun
de·​cep·​tion di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio)
1
a
: the act of deceiving
b
: the fact or condition of being deceived
2
: something that deceives : trick

Legal Definition

deception

noun
de·​cep·​tion di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio)
1
: an act of deceiving
2
: something that deceives : deceit

More from Merriam-Webster on deception

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