verb (used with or without object)

to interpret, explain, or understand incorrectly.

Origin of misinterpret

First recorded in 1580–90; mis-1 + interpret
Related formsmis·in·ter·pret·a·ble, adjectivemis·in·ter·pre·ta·tion, nounmis·in·ter·pret·er, nounun·mis·in·ter·pret·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for misinterpretation

Contemporary Examples of misinterpretation

Historical Examples of misinterpretation

  • All ferocity must be misinterpretation of the divine law of harmony and mutual help.

  • These illusions spring from misinterpretation of Scripture language.

  • I could have groaned in my rage at such a misinterpretation.

  • Furthermore, he was unfair to himself and unjust to her in the misinterpretation of her behavior.

    The Loyalist

    James Francis Barrett

  • This commission, it is to be feared, is losing much of its force from misinterpretation.

    Thoughts on Missions

    Sheldon Dibble

British Dictionary definitions for misinterpretation



(tr) to interpret badly, misleadingly, or incorrectly
Derived Formsmisinterpretation, nounmisinterpreter, 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 misinterpretation

1570s; see mis- (1) + interpretation.



1580s, from mis- (1) + interpret. Related: Misinterpreted; misinterpreting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper