View synonyms for duplicity


[ doo-plis-i-tee, dyoo- ]


, plural du·plic·i·ties
  1. deceitfulness in speech or conduct, as by speaking or acting in two different ways to different people concerning the same matter; double-dealing.

    Synonyms: trickery, hypocrisy, guile, fraud, dissimulation, deception, deceit

    Antonyms: straightforwardness, directness, candidness, honesty

  2. an act or instance of such deceitfulness.
  3. Law. the act or fact of including two or more offenses in one count, or charge, as part of an indictment, thus violating the requirement that each count contain only a single offense.
  4. the state or quality of having two elements or parts; being twofold or double.


/ djuːˈplɪsɪtɪ /


  1. deception; double-dealing

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • duˈplicitous, adjective

Discover More

Other Words From

  • non·du·plic·i·ty noun

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of duplicity1

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English duplicite, from Middle French duplicitė́, from Late Latin duplicitāt-, stem of duplicitās “doubleness”; duplex, -ity

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of duplicity1

C15: from Old French duplicite, from Late Latin duplicitās a being double, from Latin duplex

Discover More

Synonym Study

Duplicity, deceit, guile, hypocrisy, fraud, trickery refer either to practices designed to mislead or to the qualities that produce those practices. Duplicity is the form of deceitfulness that leads one to give two impressions, either or both of which may be false: the duplicity of a spy working for two governments. Deceit is the quality that prompts intentional concealment or perversion of truth for the purpose of misleading: honest and without deceit. The quality of guile leads to craftiness in the use of deceit: using guile and trickery to attain one's ends. Hypocrisy is the pretense of possessing qualities of sincerity, goodness, devotion, etc.: It was sheer hypocrisy for him to go to church. Fraud refers usually to the practice of subtle deceit or duplicity by which one may derive benefit at another's expense: an advertiser convicted of fraud. Trickery is the quality that leads to the use of tricks and habitual deception: notorious for his trickery in business deals.

Discover More

Example Sentences

The devil may be the ultimate trickster, but for pure duplicity, he’s got nothing on them.

Is behind-the-scenes duplicity, cloaked in coming-of-age business dilemma, the new norm for major-label moves?

But for a man who delighted in exposing hypocrisies, his relationship to Communism was riddled with duplicity.

His spineless duplicity confirms that the good guy is actually pretty much a louse.

It even escalates the discomfort and duplicity by magnitudes.

Palestinians and their sympathizers can point out the unscrupulous dishonesty and duplicity of the Israeli occupiers.

The seed of discontent was again germinating under the duplicity of the Spanish lay and clerical authorities.

This may be what Fordun has in view when he says that the duplicity of the English was at length laid bare.

Also, it has some of the elements of modern international diplomacy in its double-talk and duplicity.

He was not used to treading the quicksands of duplicity, and he felt himself sinking.

She could not condemn him for that, any more than she could forget her father's duplicity.


Discover More

More About Duplicity

What does duplicity mean?

Duplicity is the practice of intentionally misleading people, especially by saying different things to different people or acting in different ways at different times.

Close synonyms are deceit and deception. A more informal synonym is double-dealing (which can also be used as an adjective).

Duplicity can also refer to the quality of someone or something that misleads in this way or to an instance of deception.

People who are liars engage in duplicity. The word is based on the idea of presenting two or more different versions of oneself or of a situation. Fittingly, people who use duplicity are often accused of being two-faced or of “speaking out of both sides of their mouth.” This typically means that they say different things to different people (in other words, they lie) in order to serve their agenda.

In a legal context, duplicity is used in a more specific way to refer to the inclusion of two offenses in one charge, which in many places is a violation of the legal process (in which each offense should be counted separately).

Less commonly, duplicity can refer to the state or quality of having two elements or parts. This sense of duplicity does not have the same negative implication as the primary sense of the word.

The adjective form of duplicity is duplicitous.

Example: There is clearly no shame in his duplicity—he says one thing and then turns around and says the complete opposite, barely trying to conceal the lie.

Where does duplicity come from?

The first records of the word duplicity come from the 1400s. It comes from the Late Latin word duplicitās, meaning “doubleness.” The beginning part du- means “two” and is the basis of words like duo, duplex, and duplicate.

Duplicity most commonly refers to a kind of two-facedness. It’s often used to refer to what someone is engaging in when they intentionally give different impressions to different people. One impression can be true and one a lie, or they can both be lies, but in any case the result is something that is not the full truth.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to duplicity?

What are some synonyms for duplicity?

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

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

How is duplicity used in real life?

Duplicity is somewhat formal. It is usually used negatively, often in the context of people intentionally trying to mislead people by saying different things at different times, such as in politics.

Try using duplicity!

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

A. deception

B. doublethink

C. doublespeak

D. double-dealing