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From Middle English deceyven, desayven, dissayven, from Old French decever, decevoir, from Latin dēcipiō (to deceive; beguile; entrap), from dē- (from) + capiō (to seize); see captive. Compare conceive, perceive, receive. Displaced native Old English beswīcan.


  • IPA(key): /dɪˈsiːv/
  • Hyphenation: de‧ceive
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːv


deceive (third-person singular simple present deceives, present participle deceiving, simple past and past participle deceived)

  1. (transitive) To trick or mislead.
    • 1829, Edgar Allan Poe, “Tamerlane”, in Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems:
      I know—for Death, who comes for me
      From regions of the blest afar,
      Where there is nothing to deceive,
      Hath left his iron gate ajar, […]
    • 2012 April 26, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits :”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      Hungry for fame and the approval of rare-animal collector Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton), Darwin deceives the Captain and his crew into believing they can get enough booty to win the pirate competition by entering Polly in a science fair. So the pirates journey to London in cheerful, blinkered defiance of the Queen, a hotheaded schemer whose royal crest reads simply “I hate pirates.”


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