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[dih-sep-tiv] /dɪˈsɛp tɪv/
apt or tending to deceive:
The enemy's peaceful overtures may be deceptive.
perceptually misleading:
It looks like a curved line, but it's deceptive.
Origin of deceptive
1605-15; < Medieval Latin dēceptīvus, equivalent to Latin dēcept(us) (see deception) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
deceptively, adverb
deceptiveness, noun
nondeceptive, adjective
nondeceptively, adverb
nondeceptiveness, noun
undeceptive, adjective
undeceptively, adverb
undeceptiveness, noun
1. delusive, fallacious, specious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for deceptiveness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Moralizing on the deceptiveness of appearances, Crimmins fortified himself with another slab of cut-plug.

    Garrison's Finish W. B. M. Ferguson
  • College mates of Taylor will recall the deceptiveness of this outward appearance.

    Jukes-Edwards A. E. Winship
  • And then he laughed at the deceptiveness and the wild humor of his own speech.

    True and Other Stories George Parsons Lathrop
  • To the eye it appears an ideal country for traveling, but only a very slight experience is necessary to reveal its deceptiveness.

    Navaho Houses, pages 469-518 Cosmos Mindeleff
  • Independently of any skill or deceptiveness, this broken painted surface looks effective and lasts long.

  • Here then you see the deceptiveness under the above dissembled conversation of Cain with his brother.

  • He had moments through the night of recognizing the deceptiveness of his senses.

    Aurora the Magnificent Gertrude Hall
  • A madman was capable of anything; and yet, confound the chap's deceptiveness, he didn't look mad.

    The Kingdom Round the Corner Coningsby Dawson
British Dictionary definitions for deceptiveness


likely or designed to deceive; misleading: appearances can be deceptive
(music) (of a cadence) another word for interrupted (sense 3)
Derived Forms
deceptively, adverb
deceptiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deceptiveness



1610s, from French deceptif (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin deceptivus, from decept-, past participle stem of Latin decipere (see deceive). Earlier in this sense was deceptious (c.1600), from French deceptieux, from Medieval Latin deceptiosus, from deceptionem. Related: Deceptively; deceptiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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