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Alternative forms




From Middle English deceyte, from Old French deceite, deçoite, from decevoir (to deceive), from Latin dēcipere (to cheat, mislead).


  • IPA(key): /dɪˈsiːt/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -iːt



deceit (plural deceits)

  1. An act or practice intended to deceive; a trick.
    The whole conversation was merely a deceit.
  2. An act of deceiving someone.
    • 1998, Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology, page 125:
      Upon his return he killed Eriphyle for her vanity and deceit of him and his father.
  3. (uncountable) The state of being deceitful or deceptive.
    • 1603 (date written), [Francis] Bacon, “Valerius Terminus: Of the Interpretation of Nature; with the Annotations of Hermes Stella. Chapter XI. The Chapter Immediately Following the Inventary; Being the 11th in Order, a Part thereof.”, in Robert Stephens, compiler, edited by [John Lockyer], Letters and Remains of the Lord Chancellor Bacon, London: [...] W[illiam] Bowyer, published 1734, →OCLC, page 411:
      [T]he tvvo commended rules by him [Aristotle] ſet down, vvhereby the axioms of Sciences are precepted to be made convertible, and vvhich the latter men have not vvithout elegancy ſurnamed; the one the rule of truth, becauſe it preventeth deceipt; the other the rule of prudence, becauſe it freeth election, are the ſame thing in ſpeculation and affirmation, vvhich vve novv obſerve.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [...] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Psalms 10:7:
      His mouth is full of curſing, and deceit, and fraud : vnder his tongue is miſchiefe and vanitie.
  4. (law) The tort or fraudulent representation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity, or recklessly, or without reasonable grounds for believing its truth and with intent to induce reliance on it; the plaintiff justifiably relies on the deception, to his injury.



Derived terms



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