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deceptive +‎ -ly


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈsɛptɪvli/
  • (file)


deceptively (comparative more deceptively, superlative most deceptively)

  1. In a deceptive manner; misleadingly.
    • 2010, Australian Law Dictionarydeceptively similar, Oxford Reference
      A trade mark is deceptively similar to another trade mark if it so nearly resembles that other trade mark that it is likely to deceive or cause confusion
    • February 10 2006, Dorian Lynskey, “Readers recommend: joyous songs”, in The Guardian[1]:
      those deceptively jaunty tunes that mask less-than- cheerful lyrics
  2. Actually but not apparently.
    • February 12 2015, Alison Spiegel, “Deceptively Easy Valentine's Day Recipes”, in HuffPost[2]:
      We've rounded up 26 recipes that sound, look and taste difficult but are actually really easy. ... try one of these deceptively easy but wildly impressive recipes.
    • 2015 September 3, Frances O'Rourke, “‘Deceptively spacious’ fits the bill in Dalkey for €1.575m”, in The Irish Times[3]:
      The “deceptively spacious” cliche is accurate in the case of this house near the corner of Castlepark Road and Hyde Road: from the front, it looks like a traditional 1930s home. But the current owners, who moved here 23 years ago, have extended it three times since then; now, with two levels at the back, it has 346sq m (3,725sq ft) of space.
    • 2018 May 7, Phil Harrison, “Monday’s best TV: Genderquake”, in The Guardian[4]:
      what seems like a complex situation is actually deceptively simple
    • 2020 November 9, Adrian Horton, “A Teacher review – intriguing yet incomplete drama about grooming”, in The Guardian[5]:
      Over 20-25 minute episodes, A Teacher shows us what should seem to be a transparent case of grooming: Claire (Kate Mara), a quiet, deceptively self-destructive new high school English teacher in Austin, Texas, and her 17-year-old student-turned-lover, Eric (Love Simon’s Nick Robinson).
  3. Apparently but not actually.
    • 1968 October 29, Leonard P. Moore, Bertino v. Polish Ocean Line, 402 F.2d 963, 866 (2 Cir. 1968)
      The trial court found that the crewman who had spread the sawdust over the oil had made the situation more dangerous by creating a deceptively safe condition, resulting in a "trap" and an unseaworthy condition.
    • 2020 December 27, Steve Nadis, “After Centuries, a Simple Math Problem Gets an Exact Solution”, in Wired[6]:
      Mathematicians have long pondered a deceptively easy puzzle about the reach of a goat tied to a fence. Until now, they’ve only found approximate answers.

Usage notes[edit]

Senses 2 and 3 are opposite and it may be impossible to infer from the context which sense is intended in a given case.

Derived terms[edit]