de·​cep·​tion | \ di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio) \

Definition of deception

1a : 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

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Other Words from deception

deceptional \ di-​ˈsep-​shə-​nəl How to pronounce deception (audio) \ 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

Examples of deception in a Sentence

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 Joe’s fake identity is someone else’s fake identity, like matryoshka dolls of deception. Jessica Goldstein, Vulture, 13 Oct. 2021 Do these acts of deception represent a redemption of his father’s sins, or a surrender to them? Jake Bittle, The New Republic, 12 Oct. 2021 However, Watson reversed course on Monday, pushing back against claims of deception and declaring Ozy open for business. Jemima Mcevoy, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 For years, members of the task force used their positions to steal money and drugs from citizens, and waged a campaign of deception that included planting evidence to incriminate the innocent. Christine Condon,, 29 Sep. 2021 Clearly, there is a difference between a party trick and a web of deception. Nylah Burton,, 26 Sep. 2021 Braude began by asking the group how investigative journalism has changed in the past half-century by relying less on undercover reporting and similar tools of deception., 24 Sep. 2021 John Durham on Thursday indicted a Clinton campaign lawyer from 2016 for lying to the FBI, but this is no ho-hum case of deception. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 17 Sep. 2021 That habit of self-deception can imbue the reading of work like Taylor’s with the thrill of accessing illicit knowledge. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 24 Aug. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of deception

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

History and Etymology for deception

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

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Time Traveler for deception

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deception.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for deception



English Language Learners Definition of deception

: the act of making someone believe something that is not true : the act of deceiving someone
: an act or statement intended to make people believe something that is not true


de·​cep·​tion | \ di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio) \

Kids Definition of deception

1 : the act of making someone believe something that is not true Magicians are masters of deception.
2 : trick entry 1 sense 1 His clever deception fooled me.


de·​cep·​tion | \ di-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce deception (audio) \

Legal Definition of deception

1 : an act of deceiving
2 : something that deceives : deceit

More from Merriam-Webster on deception

Nglish: Translation of deception for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deception for Arabic Speakers


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