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  1. apt or tending to deceive: The enemy's peaceful overtures may be deceptive.
  2. perceptually misleading: It looks like a curved line, but it's deceptive.
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Origin of deceptive

1605–15; < Medieval Latin dēceptīvus, equivalent to Latin dēcept(us) (see deception) + -īvus -ive
Related formsde·cep·tive·ly, adverbde·cep·tive·ness, nounnon·de·cep·tive, adjectivenon·de·cep·tive·ly, adverbnon·de·cep·tive·ness, nounun·de·cep·tive, adjectiveun·de·cep·tive·ly, adverbun·de·cep·tive·ness, noun


See more synonyms for deceptive on Thesaurus.com
1. delusive, fallacious, specious.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for deceptive


  1. likely or designed to deceive; misleadingappearances can be deceptive
  2. music (of a cadence) another word for interrupted (def. 3)
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Derived Formsdeceptively, adverbdeceptiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for deceptive


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper