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Middle English, from Anglo-French deceivre, from Latin decipere, from de- + capere to take — more at heave

transitive verb

1 archaic : ensnare 2 a obsolete : to be false to

b archaic : to fail to fulfill

3 obsolete : cheat 4 : to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid 5 archaic : to while away

intransitive verb
to practice deceit; also : to give a false impression <appearances can deceive>
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mislead, delude, beguile mean to lead astray or frustrate usually by underhandedness. deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness


Deception, beguilement, deceit, bluff, mystification, and subterfuge are acts to propagate beliefs that are not true, or not the whole truth (as in half-truths or omission). Deception can involve dissimulation, propaganda, sleight of hand. It can employ distraction, camouflage or concealment. There is also self-deception.