View synonyms for deceptive


[ dih-sep-tiv ]


  1. apt or tending to deceive:

    The enemy's peaceful overtures may be deceptive.

    Synonyms: specious, fallacious, delusive

  2. perceptually misleading:

    It looks like a curved line, but it's deceptive.


/ dɪˈsɛptɪv /


  1. likely or designed to deceive; misleading

    appearances can be deceptive

  2. music (of a cadence) another word for interrupted
“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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Derived Forms

  • deˈceptively, adverb
  • deˈceptiveness, noun
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Other Words From

  • de·cep·tive·ly adverb
  • de·cep·tive·ness noun
  • non·de·cep·tive adjective
  • non·de·cep·tive·ness noun
  • un·de·cep·tive adjective
  • un·de·cep·tive·ness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of deceptive1

First recorded in 1605–15; from Medieval Latin dēceptīvus, equivalent to Latin dēcept(us) “deceived” ( deception ) + -īvus -ive
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Example Sentences

Allegations include that Nikola staged a 2018 video of its signature hydrogen fuel-cell truck driving, and that it has made deceptive claims about its battery development efforts after the failure of an acquisition deal.

From Fortune

A new report claims that zero-emissions vehicle startup Nikola Motor has made a series of deceptive public statements and representations about its technology and business.

From Fortune

To start, it is vague on the matter of what’s considered fake news, which it describes as false or deceptive content shared with the potential to cause individual or collective harm.

The FTC probe, run out of the commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, centers on whether Intuit violated the law against unfair and deceptive practices in commerce.

The audit comes after a series of stories by Voice of San Diego revealed mismanagement and deceptive practices within the district.

He knows he was lucky that way; but also that appearances can be deceptive.

“The language on the ballot is deceptive and deliberately so,” says Herron.

Dig deeper, though, and these tactics start to look somewhat deceptive.

Their opponents suggested that the labels, even if they were accurate, were fundamentally deceptive.

The makers of wildly popular energy shot 5-hour Energy are being sued by three states for deceptive advertising.

Without the former quality, knowledge of the past is uninstructive; without the latter, it is deceptive.

All passions are deceptive; they conceal themselves as much as possible from others and from themselves as well.

Below him for a hundred and fifty feet the gravel was of the same hard, deceptive consistency.

The boys now realized how deceptive wind and water viewed from a distance always are.

"Sure," grinned Stanton, with all the deceptive, undauntable optimism of the Just-Awakened.


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More About Deceptive

What does deceptive mean?

Deceptive means intended to or tending to deceive—to lie, mislead, or otherwise hide or distort the truth.

Deceptive is typically used to describe an action or something that deceives or is intended to deceive, as in deceptive business practices. 

The related noun deception refers to the act or practice of deceiving or being deceptive.

Being deceptive 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 deceptive.

The word deceitful often means the same thing but is more likely to be used to describe a person, whereas deceptive is more commonly applied to actions and practices.

Deceptive can also be used to describe things that are naturally or innocently misleading to one’s perception (without someone doing the deceiving). This sense of the word is especially used in its adverb form—for example, something might be called deceptively small because it looks bigger than it is. The adjective deceiving means the same thing.

Example: The report was widely criticized for being deceptive by intentionally omitting crucial pieces of information.

Where does deceptive come from?

The first records of the word deceptive come from the early 1600s. Deceptive and related words like deception and deceive ultimately derive from the Latin verb dēcipere, meaning “to ensnare” (in the literal sense of trapping someone or an animal).

Things described as deceptive include attempts to mislead or trick someone or trap them with a deceptive scheme. Being deceptive 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 something didn’t use a lie doesn’t it wasn’t deceptive.

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What are some other forms related to deceptive?

  • deceptively (adverb)
  • deceptiveness (noun)

What are some synonyms for deceptive?

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

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

How is deceptive used in real life?

Deceptive and deceitful are often used to mean the same thing, but deceptive is less likely to be used to describe a person and more likely to describe an action or practice. Deceptive can be used in all kinds of contexts, though of course it is common in political discussion.


Try using deceptive!

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

A. duplicitous
B . deceitful
C. descriptive
D. dishonest




deception tabledeceptive cadence