mis·​lead | \ ˌmis-ˈlēd How to pronounce mislead (audio) \
misled\ ˌmis-​ˈled How to pronounce mislead (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

Other Words from mislead

misleader noun
misleadingly \ ˌmis-​ˈlē-​diŋ-​lē How to pronounce mislead (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 The complaint also outlines several engineers’ efforts to mislead Motorola in connection with their departures. Richard Vanderford, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 The new case concerns Barry D. Romeril, a former Xerox executive whom the S.E.C. accused of participating in a scheme to mislead investors. New York Times, 18 Apr. 2022 In some districts, climate education is actually disinformation, as teachers rely on materials created by the fossil fuel industry to mislead children on the origin of the problem and our possible futures. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, 13 Apr. 2022 Troopers determined that his guardians, Steven Melovidov, 31, and Sophie Myers-Melovidov, 28, tried to mislead investigators after killing him in their home, the statement said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Dec. 2021 The government spent 11 weeks attempting to unravel the complex web of alleged deception for jurors, to prove its case that Holmes intended to mislead investors and patients about the company's capabilities and business deals for financial gain. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 19 Dec. 2021 According to the sheriff, Chancy recorded deceiving entries in the books and ledgers for the three businesses to intentionally mislead Mona. orlandosentinel.com, 17 Nov. 2021 My work focused on the use of fake accounts to mislead the social discourse. Karishma Mehrotra, Quartz, 11 Nov. 2021 Rita Look, another West Oakland resident who opposes the project, said political advertising could mislead voters into supporting it. Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of mislead

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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The first known use of mislead was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mislead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mislead. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for mislead


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 mislead (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

More from Merriam-Webster on mislead

Nglish: Translation of mislead for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mislead for Arabic Speakers


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