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 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

Synonyms for deceptive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deceptively

Contemporary Examples of deceptively

Historical Examples of deceptively

  • A small, clear stream flowed below it to the left, so deceptively clear that it reflected the hillside in all its natural tints.

  • With a deceptively firm step she entered a room to wonder at.

    Red Masquerade

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • He was moon-faced, dark, with short brown hair and a deceptively sleepy look.

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

    Zero Data

    Charles Saphro

  • The trees on both sides were deceptively peaceful, as though nothing violent could possibly occur here.

    The Lost Wagon

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

British Dictionary definitions for deceptively



likely or designed to deceive; misleadingappearances can be deceptive
music (of a cadence) another word for interrupted (def. 3)
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper