Definition of deceive in English:



  • 1 (of a person) cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage.

    ‘I didn't intend to deceive people into thinking it was French champagne’
    • ‘For a moment, she had believed him… but she couldn't let him deceive her again, it couldn't be true - he didn't love her.’
    • ‘When it comes to deceiving the public, it is obvious that neither political party has a monopoly: both are equally duplicitous.’
    • ‘He had tried to deceive employers and police by changing his middle name from Phillip to Clayton.’
    • ‘In any event the document found in its records convinced the Pope that Galileo had deliberately deceived him.’
    • ‘Whatever goodwill Tom might have toward the situation will surely evaporate should he find out that she has been deliberately deceiving him.’
    • ‘Peter could be charged with a number of offences under the Theft Acts 1968 and 1978, as he has clearly deceived his bank manager.’
    • ‘Make a list of who told you what, and determine if anyone has something to gain by deceiving you.’
    • ‘They have been cruelly deceived by an industry that doesn't care and a government that doesn't seem to understand.’
    • ‘The campaign, launched by the Office of Fair Trading, aims to draw attention to unscrupulous holiday clubs that deliberately deceive consumers and pressurise them into membership.’
    • ‘Is deceiving a patient about her true medical condition, in the interest of promoting an optimistic attitude, likely to increase her chances of recovery?’
    • ‘He helped disguise loans as sales in order to boost the company's revenue - on paper - and thereby deceive the public as well as government regulators.’
    • ‘In other walks of life when people set out deliberately to deceive people, it gets called ‘deceit’.’
    • ‘The embattled minister refused to be drawn yesterday on accusations that he had deceived the public before the election when he insisted that no spending cuts were planned.’
    • ‘Many have justifiable ethical concerns about deliberately deceiving patients regarding the nature of their treatment.’
    • ‘When asked to produce his driving licence, Smith, 41, admitted he had deceived his insurers into believing he was a motorcyclist with several years' experience.’
    • ‘Indeed it is also clear that your representatives were deliberately lying when making these statements, and thus deliberately intending to deceive members of the public.’
    • ‘It really is important for people to be aware there are people out there willing to deceive our elderly residents.’
    • ‘‘I was deceived by this person, and I want my money back,’ Mr Khudier said.’
    • ‘‘It's difficult to catch someone who is deliberately trying to deceive you,’ Mr. Rosenstiel said.’
    • ‘You stole from and deceived patients and colleagues and deliberately covered up your actions.’
    swindle, defraud, cheat, trick, hoodwink, hoax, dupe, take in, mislead, delude, fool, outwit, misguide, lead on, inveigle, seduce, ensnare, entrap, beguile, double-cross, gull
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    1. 1.1(of a thing) give a mistaken impression.
      ‘the area may seem to offer nothing of interest, but don't be deceived’
      [no object] ‘everything about him was intended to deceive’
      • ‘His looks may deceive you into thinking he is still in his teens but 32-year-old Angus is a father of two boys Niquan two and Shaquan four.’
      • ‘I moved closer to the screen, not sure if my eyes were deceiving me.’
      • ‘If you can make out a soft purr, or a meow, or maybe the gentle sound of milk being lapped up from a dish, do not assume that your ears are deceiving you.’
      • ‘Mrs Atkinson is also sure that her eyes were not deceiving her.’
      • ‘What's strange is that, for some odd reason, my memory is deceiving me.’
      • ‘Bethany, are my eyes deceiving me, or is that Tara talking to David Walker?’
      • ‘Well, just to see if my memory deceived me, I bought Isn't Anything on CD having long since lost my cassette of it.’
      • ‘That is, (if the obtuse language doesn't deceive me), within the law.’
      • ‘After watching the pilot DVD in stunned silence, I had to check a few episodes on disk 2 of the four DVD set, just to make sure that my eyes hadn't deceived me.’
      • ‘The fact that we stopped gabbling for 15 minutes says it all, and in the intervening week I've been tempted to hop in my car and drive for an hour and a half just to check that my tastebuds weren't deceiving me.’
      • ‘Don't let its looks deceive you: aloe vera is, in fact, a member of the lily family.’
      • ‘No, your eyes do not deceive you - 85 games crammed on to one disc, a task made easier because most take up only a few megabytes each, but it is still a bargain.’
      • ‘For the first few minutes of the men's match, I thought my eyes were deceiving me - these were the fastest, most athletic soccer players I had ever seen.’
      • ‘Microsoft argues that our memories often deceive us: experiences get exaggerated, we muddle the timing of events and simply forget stuff.’
      • ‘Pat Fenlon advanced a small bit but seemed to have the ball covered, however the ball deceived him and ended up in the St Mullins net.’
      • ‘I thought my eyes were deceiving me, as, in the far distance I spied what looked like rows of silver pods suspended against the dark hills.’
      • ‘But a word of caution - the season continues well into November so don't let the good start deceive you.’
      • ‘No, my friends, your eyes are not deceiving you.’
      • ‘Stanley winger Rory Prendergast opened the scoring on 24 minutes with a low drive from outside the box that deceived Altrincham keeper Richard Acton.’
      • ‘Your gut instincts won't deceive you - but the conclusions you draw from them, and decisions you make, may.’
    2. 1.2Fail to admit to oneself that something is true.
      ‘enabling the rulers to deceive themselves about the nature of their own rule’
      • ‘However, it is no use deceiving ourselves that we can look 25 again.’
      • ‘‘We shouldn't deceive ourselves about this man,’ the president said.’
      • ‘It wouldn't protect thousands of players from continuing to deceive themselves that, maybe, just maybe, that next jackpot will be theirs.’
      • ‘Yet if republicans are tempted to think that the worst is now over, they are surely deceiving themselves.’
      • ‘Take it for what it is baby and stop deceiving yourself.’
      • ‘Anyone who thinks that's how it's going to be is deceiving themselves.’
      • ‘There are few truly evil people in the world, and so it is of vital importance for those who wield illegitimate power to deceive themselves into believing they do so justly.’
      • ‘Psychologist Ray Hyman provides a very telling example of how gurus and true believers can deceive themselves into believing what has been demonstrated to be false.’
      • ‘That was a shock, he admits, although now he laughs at how easily a child could deceive himself that somehow, even at boarding school, his parents would still be around.’
      • ‘We then embarked on a three-hour conversation about the fabric of reality and the way we have deceived ourselves about the true nature of the world.’
      • ‘Adding to the evils of status-seeking is that people often deceive themselves and others into believing that they are doing something for a higher motive when in fact they are seeking status.’
      • ‘Smokers who think the soothing effects of tobacco make up for the risks may be deceiving themselves badly, according to a new theory.’
      • ‘The trick is, as Perry points out, is to learn how to deceive myself more efficiently.’
      • ‘Only someone determined to deceive himself or others would pretend otherwise.’
      • ‘The only other possibility is that he was still deceiving himself at age 43, which is incredibly hard to believe.’
      • ‘But, and I am genuinely sorry to say this, we deceive ourselves if we believe that we can change the world by this means.’
      • ‘Any record company that believes illicit song file distribution hinders their ability to sell music is deceiving itself - how else will anyone find out about the gazillion CDs that are out there?’
      • ‘Testimonials are not a substitute for scientific studies, which are done to make sure that we are not deceiving ourselves about what appears to be true.’
      • ‘‘He is a Walter Mitty-type figure who deceives himself into believing that he has achieved great things when all he has done is talked about them endlessly,’ said Mr Costello.’
      • ‘The principle behind a chain letter is basically the same as a pyramid scheme, except that with chain letters, you don't have to deceive yourself as much as with pyramid schemes.’
    3. 1.3Be sexually unfaithful to (one's regular partner)
      • ‘A person who has actually been deceived by their partner feels threatened, robbed, deceived and cheated, and is left feeling jealous and torn between love and hate.’
      • ‘He deceived his wife with at least two other women, one of whom became pregnant’
      • ‘I didn't love my husband, but I never deceived him in that way. I'm not some sort of cheap woman.’
      • ‘Her partner deceives her, but she doesn't know it; her children fail, but she is told they succeed; she believes she has the admiration of others, but they laugh at her behind her back.’
      be unfaithful to, be disloyal to, be untrue to, be inconstant to, cheat on, cheat, betray, break one's promise to, play someone false, fail, let down
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Middle English: from Old French deceivre, from Latin decipere catch, ensnare, cheat.