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See more synonyms for misleading on Thesaurus.com
  1. deceptive; tending to mislead.
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Origin of misleading

First recorded in 1630–40; mislead + -ing2
Related formsmis·lead·ing·ly, adverbmis·lead·ing·ness, noun


verb (used with object), mis·led, mis·lead·ing.
  1. to lead or guide wrongly; lead astray.
  2. to lead into error of conduct, thought, or judgment.
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verb (used without object), mis·led, mis·lead·ing.
  1. to be misleading; tend to deceive: vague directions that often mislead.
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Origin of mislead

before 1050; Middle English misleden, Old English mislǣdan. See mis-1, lead1
Related formsmis·lead·er, nounun·mis·led, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for misleading

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But the empty silence of the desert was misleading, as the men in the crater knew.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • This is a very crude and misleading way of describing ancient science.



  • Or again, the trail will become confused and misleading when crossed by that of foxes.

  • The first is that the readings taken with a hydrometer will then be misleading.

  • The present is bright with misleading glamour--beware of the vanities of the flesh!


    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for misleading


  1. tending to confuse or mislead; deceptive
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Derived Formsmisleadingly, adverb


verb -leads, -leading or -led (tr)
  1. to give false or misleading information to
  2. to lead or guide in the wrong direction
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Derived Formsmisleader, 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 misleading


1630s, present participle adjective from mislead.

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Old English mislædan "to mislead," common Germanic compound (cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch misleiden, Old High German misseleiten, German missleiten, Danish mislede); see mis- (1) + lead (v.). Related: misleading; misled.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper