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[dih-sep-tiv] /dɪˈsɛp tɪv/
apt or tending to deceive:
The enemy's peaceful overtures may be deceptive.
perceptually misleading:
It looks like a curved line, but it's deceptive.
Origin of deceptive
1605-15; < Medieval Latin dēceptīvus, equivalent to Latin dēcept(us) (see deception) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
deceptively, adverb
deceptiveness, noun
nondeceptive, adjective
nondeceptively, adverb
nondeceptiveness, noun
undeceptive, adjective
undeceptively, adverb
undeceptiveness, noun
1. delusive, fallacious, specious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for deceptively
  • Something deceptively similar happens in the ranking of citations.
  • It is all good fun, yet among the anecdotes and curious facts the science content is deceptively high.
  • Resembling a sunflower, a sea anemone appears deceptively benign.
  • The concept of handedness-of left and right, say, or of clockwise and anti-clockwise-is deceptively simple.
  • Most of these works adhere to one deceptively simple requirement-the use of a single sheet of paper with no cuts or tears.
  • Our lighter alternative tastes deceptively rich, is extremely easy, and offers a a welcome respite from heavy holiday fare.
  • Or, perhaps, it could serve a deceptively expensive-looking gift.
  • One lashes out deceptively from any side of the baseline, the other overtly attacks the net.
  • That's because these are all games of chance where the odds are deceptively stacked in favor of the house.
  • But declines in methane emissions from wetlands are painting a deceptively rosy picture, researchers say.
British Dictionary definitions for deceptively


likely or designed to deceive; misleading: appearances can be deceptive
(music) (of a cadence) another word for interrupted (sense 3)
Derived Forms
deceptively, adverb
deceptiveness, noun
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 deceptively



1610s, from French deceptif (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin deceptivus, from decept-, past participle stem of Latin decipere (see deceive). Earlier in this sense was deceptious (c.1600), from French deceptieux, from Medieval Latin deceptiosus, from deceptionem. Related: Deceptively; deceptiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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