[ dih-sep-shuhn ]
/ dɪˈsɛp ʃən /
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the act of deceiving; the state of being deceived.
something that deceives or is intended to deceive; fraud; artifice.
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Origin of deception

1400–50; late Middle English decepcioun<Old French <Late Latin dēceptiōn- (stem of dēceptiō), equivalent to Latin dēcept(us) (past participle of dēcipere;see deceive) + -iōn--ion


non·de·cep·tion, nounpre·de·cep·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does deception mean?

Deception is the act or practice of deceiving—lying, misleading, or otherwise hiding or distorting the truth. The related word deceit often means the same thing.

Deception doesn’t just involve lying. It can consist of misrepresenting or omitting the truth or more complicated cover-ups. Anything that involves intentionally misleading someone is deception. People can even engage in self-deception by avoiding the truth.

The word deception often implies a pattern of behavior, rather than a one-time act. The adjective deceptive can describe something that deceives or is intended to deceive. A person who engages in deception can be described as deceitful.

Less commonly, the word deception can refer to an action, scheme, or trick intended to deceive, as in It was a clever deception, but I didn’t fall for it. 

Example: I’m sick of your constant lying and deception—I can’t trust anything you say!

Where does deception come from?

The first records of the word deception come from the 1400s. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb dēcipere, meaning “to ensnare” (in the literal sense of trapping someone or an animal).

Forms of deception include attempts to mislead or trick someone or trap them with a deceptive scheme. Deception always involves deceiving someone, but it may not involve outright lying. Some forms of deception involve concealing the truth or simply omitting the truth. Just because you didn’t lie doesn’t mean you didn’t engage in deception.

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What are some synonyms for deception?

What are some words that share a root or word element with deception

What are some words that often get used in discussing deception?

How is deception used in real life?

Deception and deceit are often used to mean the same thing, but deception is perhaps more commonly used because it’s slightly less formal. Both words can be used in all kinds of contexts, though of course they are common in political discussion.


Try using deception!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of deception?

A. duplicity
B. deceit
C. description
D. dishonesty

How to use deception in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for deception

/ (dɪˈsɛpʃən) /

the act of deceiving or the state of being deceived
something that deceives; trick
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