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See more synonyms for deceptive on Thesaurus.com
  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

Examples from the Web for deceptively

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was a hellishly unbuildable and deceptively simple gadget, that tracer.

    Zero Data

    Charles Saphro

  • They chatted pleasantly and in a deceptively random manner for a while.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Trench War in its railway requirements was deceptively like peace.

    G. H. Q.

    Frank Fox

  • These little tech-hamlets down the 101 were deceptively utopian.


    Cory Doctorow

  • In the lamplight they were deceptively reminiscent of the eyes of a cat.

    The Gray Mask

    Wadsworth Camp

British Dictionary definitions for deceptively


  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 deceptively



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