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From Middle English misleden, from Old English mislǣdan (to mislead), from Proto-Germanic *missalaidijaną (to mislead), equivalent to mis- +‎ lead.


  • IPA(key): /mɪsˈliːd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːd


mislead (third-person singular simple present misleads, present participle misleading, simple past and past participle misled) (transitive)

  1. (literally) To lead astray, in a false direction.
    • 2004, Green Day (lyrics and music), “Jesus of Suburbia”, in American Idiot:
      City of the dead / At the end of another lost highway / Signs misleading to nowhere
  2. To deceive by telling lies or otherwise giving a false impression.
  3. To deceptively trick into something wrong.
    The preacher elaborated Satan's ways to mislead us into sin
  4. To accidentally or intentionally confuse.



Derived terms[edit]


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mislead (countable and uncountable, plural misleads)

  1. A wrong or bad lead; a leading in the wrong direction.
    • 1951, Improvement of Grading Practices for the Air Training, page 31:
      If all the misleads (incorrect alternatives) are illogical, absurd, or in any way unattractive as possible answers, the student has no difficulty in choosing the correct answer.
  2. (countable) That which is deceptive or untruthful (e.g. a falsehood, deception, untruth, or ruse).
    • 2021, Aren Bjorgman, Frozen Ashes:
      The skinny body, a mislead to make people think that he was captured by someone and tortured. Even the loud gunshot was a mislead to make them ask questions to common citizens. His long untidy hair, also a mislead.