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[dih-seet] /dɪˈsit/
the act or practice of deceiving; concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; duplicity; fraud; cheating:
Once she exposed their deceit, no one ever trusted them again.
an act or device intended to deceive; trick; stratagem.
the quality of being deceitful; duplicity; falseness:
a man full of deceit.
Origin of deceit
1225-75; Middle English deceite < Anglo-French, Old French, noun use of feminine of deceit, past participle of deceivre to deceive
Related forms
nondeceit, noun
1. deception, dissimulation. 1, 3. Deceit, guile, hypocrisy, duplicity, fraud, trickery refer either to practices designed to mislead or to the qualities that produce those practices. Deceit is the quality that prompts intentional concealment or perversion of truth for the purpose of misleading: honest and without deceit. The quality of guile leads to craftiness in the use of deceit: using guile and trickery to attain one's ends. Hypocrisy is the pretense of possessing qualities of sincerity, goodness, devotion, etc.: It was sheer hypocrisy for him to go to church. Duplicity is the form of deceitfulness that leads one to give two impressions, either or both of which may be false: the duplicity of a spy working for two governments. Fraud refers usually to the practice of subtle deceit or duplicity by which one may derive benefit at another's expense: an advertiser convicted of fraud. Trickery is the quality that leads to the use of tricks and habitual deception: notorious for his trickery in business deals.
3. honesty, sincerity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for deceit
  • Certainly there was no evidence of deceit or fraud or dishonesty or what have you.
  • Ayres and others are also working on technological solutions that would prevent this type of deceit.
  • Fraud, deceit, or malice had not then meddled themselves with plainness and truth.
  • Sometimes there are not two sides to the story unless you see deliberate deceit as having equal weight with ethical actions.
  • But his entire position is built upon deceit and deception.
  • In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
  • The intent may not be deceit but there will be bias.
  • The deceit has provoked questions about faculty ethics.
  • Many couples commit monetary deceit in their marriages.
  • But this coupling has always been something of a convenient political deceit.
British Dictionary definitions for deceit


the act or practice of deceiving
a statement, act, or device intended to mislead; fraud; trick
a tendency to deceive
Word Origin
C13: from Old French deceite, from deceivre to deceive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deceit

c.1300, from Old French deceite, fem. past participle of deceveir (see deceive).

Deceit is a shorter and more energetic word for deceitfulness, indicating the quality; it is also, but more rarely, used to express the act or manner of deceiving. The reverse is true of deception, which is properly the act or course by which one deceives, and not properly the quality; it may express the state of being deceived. Fraud is an act or series of acts of deceit by which one attempts to benefit himself at the expense of others. It is generally a breaking of the law; the others are not. [entry for "deceit" in "The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia," 1902]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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