deceptive; tending to mislead.

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.

to lead or guide wrongly; lead astray.
to lead into error of conduct, thought, or judgment.

verb (used without object), mis·led, mis·lead·ing.

to be misleading; tend to deceive: vague directions that often mislead.

Origin of mislead

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

Synonyms for mislead

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for misleading

Contemporary Examples of misleading

Historical Examples of misleading

  • 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



tending to confuse or mislead; deceptive
Derived Formsmisleadingly, adverb


verb -leads, -leading or -led (tr)

to give false or misleading information to
to lead or guide in the wrong direction
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.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper