from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to believe what is not true; mislead.
  • transitive v. Archaic To catch by guile; ensnare.
  • intransitive v. To practice deceit.
  • intransitive v. To give a false impression: appearances can deceive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To trick or mislead.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To lead into error; to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose upon; to mislead; to cheat; to disappoint; to delude; to insnare.
  • transitive v. To beguile; to amuse, so as to divert the attention; to while away; to take away as if by deception.
  • transitive v. To deprive by fraud or stealth; to defraud.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mislead by a false appearance or statement; cause to believe what is false, or to disbelieve what is true; delude.
  • To cause to fail in fulfilment or realization; frustrate or disappoint.
  • . To take from; rob stealthily.
  • To cause to pass; while away.
  • Synonyms To beguile, cheat, overreach, circumvent, dupe, fool, gull, cozen, hoodwink.
  • In fencing, to evade, as an attack or parry, thus causing an opponent to lose the contact or feel of one's foil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause someone to believe an untruth
  • v. be false to; be dishonest with


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English deceiven, from Old French deceveir, from Vulgar Latin *dēcipēre, from Latin dēcipere, to ensnare, deceive : dē-, de- + capere, to seize; see kap- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English deceyven, from Old French deceivre (Modern French décevoir), from Latin decipere ("to deceive, beguile, entrap"), from de- ("from") + capere ("to seize"); see captive. Compare conceive, perceive, receive.


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  • Appearances, however, which have been deceptive before, may again deceive; and the history of nations teams with proofs that when once they have overstepped the bounds of reason, albeit with the purpose of returning when their ends shall have been accomplished, the very events which their own passion has produced frequently raise a barrier against their retreat, and nulla vestigia retrorsum becomes their doom.

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  • Thomas Paine, during the Revolutionary War, argued in The Crisis that there are serious moments in the life of a country when "to deceive is to destroy; and it is of little consequence, in the conclusion, whether men deceive themselves, or submit, by a kind of mutual consent, to the impositions of each other."

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