Definition of deceive in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈsēv/


[with object]
1(Of a person) cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage: I didn’t intend to deceive people into thinking it was French champagne
More example sentences
  • Make a list of who told you what, and determine if anyone has something to gain by deceiving you.
  • The campaign, launched by the Office of Fair Trading, aims to draw attention to unscrupulous holiday clubs that deliberately deceive consumers and pressurise them into membership.
  • Whatever goodwill Tom might have toward the situation will surely evaporate should he find out that she has been deliberately deceiving him.
swindle, defraud, cheat, trick, hoodwink, hoax, dupe, take in, mislead, delude, fool, outwit, lead on, inveigle, beguile, double-cross, gull
informal con, bamboozle, do, gyp, diddle, rip off, shaft, pull a fast one on, take for a ride, pull the wool over someone's eyes, sucker, snooker, stiff
1.1(Of a thing) give a mistaken impression: the area may seem to offer nothing of interest, but don’t be deceived [no object]: everything about him was intended to deceive
More example sentences
  • For the first few minutes of the men's match, I thought my eyes were deceiving me - these were the fastest, most athletic soccer players I had ever seen.
  • The fact that we stopped gabbling for 15 minutes says it all, and in the intervening week I've been tempted to hop in my car and drive for an hour and a half just to check that my tastebuds weren't deceiving me.
  • I thought my eyes were deceiving me, as, in the far distance I spied what looked like rows of silver pods suspended against the dark hills.
1.2 (deceive oneself) Fail to admit to oneself that something is true: enabling the rulers to deceive themselves about the nature of their own rule
More example sentences
  • We then embarked on a three-hour conversation about the fabric of reality and the way we have deceived ourselves about the true nature of the world.
  • Psychologist Ray Hyman provides a very telling example of how gurus and true believers can deceive themselves into believing what has been demonstrated to be false.
  • Testimonials are not a substitute for scientific studies, which are done to make sure that we are not deceiving ourselves about what appears to be true.
1.3Be sexually unfaithful to (one’s regular partner).
Example sentences
  • Her partner deceives her, but she doesn't know it; her children fail, but she is told they succeed; she believes she has the admiration of others, but they laugh at her behind her back.
  • He deceived his wife with at least two other women, one of whom became pregnant
  • I didn't love my husband, but I never deceived him in that way. I'm not some sort of cheap woman.
be unfaithful to, cheat on, betray, play someone false
informal two-time



Pronunciation: /dəˈsēvəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Certain features will remain constant: that we have vulnerable bodies, are mortal, are capable of acquiring new skills, that we are deceivable and vulnerable to duress.
  • The writer of 1 Timothy notes that " woman was deceived,’ not ‘woman is deceivable.’
  • The above brokers also push some local financial officials to find deceivable investors.


Pronunciation: /dəˈsēvər/
Example sentences
  • He said: ‘Elderly householders are vulnerable to plausible deceivers who create anxiety by claiming to observe defects in their houses and then offer to repair them.’
  • The great deceiver had ultimately deceived himself.
  • After all, deception only works when the would-be deceiver has a reputation for telling the truth.


Middle English: from Old French deceivre, from Latin decipere 'catch, ensnare, cheat'.

Words that rhyme with deceive

achieve, believe, breve, cleave, conceive, eve, greave, grieve, heave, interleave, interweave, khedive, leave, misconceive, naive, Neve, peeve, perceive, reave, receive, reive, relieve, reprieve, retrieve, sheave, sleeve, steeve, Steve, Tananarive, Tel Aviv, thieve, underachieve, upheave, weave, we've, Yves

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·ceive

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