Top 43 Slang For Deceive – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to navigating conversations and understanding the nuances of language, knowing the slang for deceive can be a game-changer. From casual conversations to online interactions, being able to spot when someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes is a valuable skill. Join us as we break down some of the most common and intriguing slang terms used to describe deceitful behavior. Stay ahead of the curve and sharpen your linguistic prowess with this insightful listicle!

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1. Con

To deceive someone by gaining their trust or confidence in order to exploit them or take advantage of them. The term “con” is short for “confidence” and is often used to describe a scam or fraudulent scheme.

  • For example, “He conned me out of my life savings with a fake investment opportunity.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Watch out for online cons that promise quick and easy money.”
  • A character in a movie might say, “I’m running a con to steal the priceless artifact.”

2. Bamboozle

To deceive or trick someone in a clever or confusing way, often by using misdirection or manipulation. The term “bamboozle” implies a sense of being bewildered or confused by the deception.

  • For instance, “He bamboozled me with his fast-talking and sleight of hand.”
  • A person might say, “Don’t let them bamboozle you with their fancy sales pitch.”
  • In a playful context, someone might say, “I’m going to bamboozle my friends with a magic trick.”

3. Hoodwink

To deceive or trick someone by making them believe something that is not true. The term “hoodwink” suggests a sense of being blindfolded or having one’s eyes covered, indicating a lack of awareness or understanding.

  • For example, “She hoodwinked me into signing a contract without reading the fine print.”
  • In a discussion about political tactics, someone might say, “Politicians often try to hoodwink the public with misleading statements.”
  • A character in a novel might say, “The villain hoodwinked the hero with a clever disguise.”

4. Dupe

To deceive or trick someone into believing something that is not true, often by taking advantage of their trust or naivety. The term “dupe” implies a sense of being easily fooled or manipulated.

  • For instance, “He duped me into buying a counterfeit product.”
  • A person might say, “Don’t be a dupe and fall for their false promises.”
  • In a discussion about online scams, someone might warn, “Beware of phishing emails that try to dupe you into revealing personal information.”

5. Scam

To deceive or defraud someone by using dishonest or fraudulent means, often for personal gain. The term “scam” is a broad term that encompasses various types of deceptive practices.

  • For example, “He got caught running a pyramid scheme scam.”
  • In a discussion about financial fraud, someone might say, “Investors need to be vigilant and avoid falling for scams.”
  • A news article might warn, “Beware of online shopping scams that offer products at unbelievably low prices.”

6. Swindle

To deceive or trick someone in order to obtain money or goods dishonestly. “Swindle” is often used to describe fraudulent schemes or scams.

  • For example, “He swindled his elderly neighbor out of her life savings.”
  • A person discussing financial fraud might say, “Beware of investment opportunities that seem too good to be true, they might be a swindle.”
  • In a discussion about online scams, someone might warn, “Don’t fall for those emails claiming you won a lottery, it’s a swindle.”

7. Trick

To deceive or fool someone by playing a prank or manipulating their thoughts or actions. “Trick” is a broad term that can encompass various forms of deception.

  • For instance, “She tricked her friends into believing she had magical powers.”
  • In a discussion about magic tricks, someone might say, “The magician’s sleight of hand tricks the audience into believing the impossible.”
  • A person sharing a funny story might say, “I tricked my coworker into thinking it was Friday when it was actually Thursday.”

8. Deceive

To cause someone to believe something that is not true or to have a false impression. “Deceive” implies a deliberate act of leading someone astray.

  • For example, “He deceived his partner by hiding his financial troubles.”
  • In a discussion about trust, someone might say, “Once someone deceives you, it’s hard to trust them again.”
  • A person warning about scams might advise, “Be cautious of individuals who try to deceive you with false promises.”

9. Cheat

To act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage or avoid punishment. “Cheat” often refers to breaking rules or engaging in dishonest behavior.

  • For instance, “He cheated on the test by looking at his neighbor’s paper.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might say, “If you cheat on your partner, you betray their trust.”
  • A person discussing sports might argue, “Using performance-enhancing drugs is a form of cheating.”

10. Grift

To deceive or swindle someone, often through a complex or elaborate scheme. “Grift” is a slang term that is commonly used to describe fraudulent activities.

  • For example, “He grifted unsuspecting tourists by selling them fake artwork.”
  • In a discussion about con artists, someone might say, “The grifter used a combination of charm and deception to pull off the scam.”
  • A person warning about financial scams might advise, “Be cautious of individuals who try to grift you out of your money.”

11. Fleece

To “fleece” someone means to deceive or trick them, usually in order to obtain money or goods dishonestly. It is often used to describe situations where someone is taken advantage of or swindled.

  • For example, “The salesman tried to fleece me by selling me a broken laptop.”
  • In a discussion about financial scams, someone might say, “Beware of online scams that try to fleece you out of your personal information.”
  • A person sharing their experience might say, “I was fleeced by a fake charity organization that claimed to help children in need.”

12. Hoax

A “hoax” refers to a deliberate deception or practical joke, often intended to fool or trick people into believing something that is not true. It is typically done for amusement or to create confusion.

  • For instance, “The viral video turned out to be a hoax created by a group of pranksters.”
  • In a conversation about urban legends, someone might mention, “The story of the haunted house turned out to be a hoax.”
  • A person warning others might say, “Be cautious of emails or messages that seem too good to be true, as they might be hoaxes.”

13. Pull a fast one

To “pull a fast one” means to deceive or trick someone in a clever or sneaky way. It is often used when someone successfully fools or outsmarts another person.

  • For example, “He pulled a fast one on his friends by pretending to be a famous celebrity.”
  • In a discussion about pranks, someone might say, “She pulled a fast one on her coworkers by hiding their office supplies.”
  • A person sharing their experience might say, “My brother pulled a fast one on me by secretly replacing my coffee with decaf.”

14. Rip off

To “rip off” means to overcharge or cheat someone, usually by charging an excessively high price for a product or service. It is often used to describe situations where someone feels they have been taken advantage of financially.

  • For instance, “The mechanic ripped me off by charging me double for a simple repair.”
  • In a conversation about consumer rights, someone might mention, “Always be cautious of businesses that might try to rip you off.”
  • A person warning others might say, “Don’t buy that product, it’s a rip off. You can find it for a much lower price elsewhere.”

15. Snow

To “snow” someone means to deceive or fool them, often by using charm or persuasive tactics. It is often used to describe situations where someone is manipulated or tricked into believing something that is not true.

  • For example, “He tried to snow me into thinking he was innocent, but I knew the truth.”
  • In a discussion about manipulative behavior, someone might mention, “Beware of people who try to snow you with flattery and false promises.”
  • A person sharing their experience might say, “I was snowed by a smooth-talking salesperson who convinced me to buy a product I didn’t need.”

16. Snooker

To snooker someone means to trick or deceive them, often in a game or competition. The term originates from the sport of snooker, where players strategically position the cue ball to make it difficult for their opponent to make a successful shot.

  • For example, “He snookered his opponent by hiding the cue ball behind the black ball.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Don’t let yourself get snookered by those fake investment opportunities.”
  • A person might warn their friend, “Be careful, that salesman will try to snooker you into buying something you don’t need.”

17. Sting

To sting someone means to con or swindle them out of money or possessions. The term “sting” is often associated with elaborate scams or schemes designed to deceive unsuspecting victims.

  • For instance, “The con artist stung the elderly couple by convincing them to invest in a fake business.”
  • In a discussion about fraud, someone might say, “Watch out for online scams that can sting you out of your personal information.”
  • A person might recount their experience, “I got stung by a smooth-talking salesman who sold me a counterfeit watch.”

18. Take for a ride

To take someone for a ride means to deceive or trick them, often for personal gain or amusement. The term suggests that the person being deceived is being taken on a figurative journey, often with negative consequences.

  • For example, “He took his friend for a ride by convincing him to invest in a fake business.”
  • In a discussion about manipulation, someone might say, “Don’t let yourself be taken for a ride by people who only want to use you.”
  • A person might warn their friend, “Be careful, that person will take you for a ride if you’re not cautious.”

19. Lead on

To lead someone on means to mislead or deceive them, often in a romantic or emotional context. The term suggests that the person doing the leading is giving false hope or signals to the other person.

  • For instance, “She led him on by flirting with him, even though she had no intention of starting a relationship.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might say, “Don’t lead someone on if you’re not interested in them romantically.”
  • A person might reflect on their past actions, “I feel guilty for leading him on when I knew I didn’t have feelings for him.”

20. Pull the wool over someone’s eyes

To pull the wool over someone’s eyes means to deceive or trick them, often by hiding the truth or manipulating their perception of a situation. The term suggests that the person being deceived is unable to see the truth due to the metaphorical “wool” covering their eyes.

  • For example, “He pulled the wool over his boss’s eyes by pretending to work while actually slacking off.”
  • In a discussion about manipulation, someone might say, “Don’t let people pull the wool over your eyes with their lies and false promises.”
  • A person might warn their friend, “Be careful, that salesperson will try to pull the wool over your eyes to make a sale.”

21. Double-cross

To deceive or betray someone, especially after gaining their trust or cooperation. The term “double-cross” implies a deliberate act of betrayal or treachery.

  • For example, “He thought they were working together, but she double-crossed him and took all the money.”
  • In a discussion about loyalty, someone might say, “I would never double-cross a friend.”
  • A character in a crime novel might plan to double-cross their partners and keep all the stolen goods for themselves.
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22. Lead astray

To deceive or misdirect someone, causing them to make a wrong decision or follow the wrong path. “Lead astray” suggests intentionally guiding someone in the wrong direction.

  • For instance, “He was led astray by false promises and ended up losing all his money.”
  • A parent might warn their child, “Don’t let anyone lead you astray with bad influences.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Fraudsters use persuasive tactics to lead vulnerable individuals astray.”

23. Put one over on

To deceive or outsmart someone by successfully carrying out a plan or trick. “Put one over on” implies a sense of accomplishment in fooling or deceiving someone.

  • For example, “He thought he could cheat me, but I put one over on him and won the game.”
  • In a discussion about pranks, someone might say, “I love trying to put one over on my friends on April Fool’s Day.”
  • A character in a comedy movie might try to put one over on their boss to avoid getting in trouble.

24. Take in

To trick or deceive someone by making them believe something that is not true. “Take in” suggests successfully convincing someone of a false reality.

  • For instance, “The con artist took in many unsuspecting victims with his smooth talk and false promises.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Don’t let yourself be taken in by too-good-to-be-true offers.”
  • A character in a mystery novel might be taken in by a fake alibi and wrongly accuse an innocent person.

25. Lead up the garden path

To deceive or mislead someone by giving them false hope, false information, or false expectations. “Lead up the garden path” implies leading someone on a long, winding, and ultimately false journey.

  • For example, “She led him up the garden path with promises of a promotion, only to give it to someone else.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might say, “He’s just leading you up the garden path. He’s not really interested.”
  • A character in a drama might be led up the garden path by a manipulative antagonist, believing they are on the path to success when it’s all a lie.
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26. Mislead

To cause someone to believe something that is not true; to give false or inaccurate information.

  • For example, “The salesman misled me by promising a discount that didn’t exist.”
  • A politician might be accused of misleading the public with false statements.
  • A friend might say, “Don’t let him mislead you with his smooth talk.”

27. Outwit

To defeat or deceive someone by being cleverer or more intelligent than them.

  • For instance, “He managed to outwit the security guards and steal the diamond.”
  • A chess player might say, “I had to outwit my opponent with a clever strategy.”
  • A student might brag, “I outwitted the teacher and got away with skipping class.”

28. Betray

To deceive someone who trusts you, especially by not being loyal or by breaking a promise or commitment.

  • For example, “He betrayed his friends by revealing their secrets.”
  • A lover might say, “I can’t believe you betrayed me by cheating.”
  • A spy movie might depict a character betraying their country for personal gain.

29. Defraud

To deceive someone in order to obtain money, property, or services dishonestly.

  • For instance, “He defrauded investors out of millions of dollars.”
  • A scammer might defraud unsuspecting victims with a fake investment scheme.
  • A victim might say, “I was defrauded by a smooth-talking con artist.”

30. Misinform

To provide someone with incorrect or inaccurate information.

  • For example, “The news article misinformed readers by reporting false statistics.”
  • A teacher might say, “It’s important not to misinform students with incorrect facts.”
  • A journalist might be accused of misinforming the public with biased reporting.

31. Misguide

To intentionally provide false or misleading information in order to deceive someone. “Misguide” is often used to describe the act of leading someone in the wrong direction or giving them incorrect instructions.

  • For example, a travel agent might misguide a tourist by recommending a subpar hotel.
  • A politician might misguide the public by making false promises during a campaign.
  • A teacher might misguide a student by providing incorrect answers to a test.

32. Misrepresent

To present or describe something or someone in a false or misleading way. “Misrepresent” is often used to indicate the act of distorting facts or giving a false impression.

  • For instance, a salesperson might misrepresent the quality of a product to make a sale.
  • A witness in a court case might misrepresent the events in order to protect someone.
  • A journalist might misrepresent the facts in a news article to fit a particular narrative.

33. Misdirect

To intentionally steer someone in the wrong direction or provide false guidance. “Misdirect” is often used to describe the act of diverting attention or giving incorrect instructions.

  • For example, a magician might misdirect the audience’s attention to perform a trick.
  • A parent might misdirect their child’s focus to avoid a difficult conversation.
  • A supervisor might misdirect an employee’s efforts to sabotage their work.
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34. Misconstrue

To interpret or understand something incorrectly or in a way that distorts its true meaning. “Misconstrue” is often used to describe the act of misinterpreting someone’s words or actions.

  • For instance, a person might misconstrue a sarcastic comment as a genuine insult.
  • A reader might misconstrue an author’s intention by misinterpreting the subtext of a novel.
  • A listener might misconstrue a speaker’s message by taking their words out of context.

35. Misstate

To make a false or inaccurate statement. “Misstate” is often used to indicate the act of providing incorrect information or distorting the truth.

  • For example, a politician might misstate the facts to support their agenda.
  • A witness might misstate their testimony under pressure from the opposing counsel.
  • A student might misstate a historical event in a class presentation.

36. Misinterpret

To understand or interpret something incorrectly or inaccurately. “Misinterpret” is often used to describe a situation where someone incorrectly interprets the meaning or intention behind someone else’s words or actions.

  • For example, if someone says, “I’m just not ready for a relationship right now,” and another person assumes it means they don’t want to be with them specifically, they might say, “You’re misinterpreting what they meant.”
  • In a discussion about a book, someone might say, “I think you misinterpreted the author’s message in that chapter.”
  • A teacher might tell a student, “You misinterpreted the question on the test, so your answer is incorrect.”

37. Hornswoggle

To deceive or trick someone, often for personal gain. “Hornswoggle” is a playful term used to describe a situation where someone is tricked or conned in a clever or dishonest way.

  • For instance, in a movie about con artists, one character might say, “Let’s hornswoggle that wealthy businessman out of his money.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might warn, “Be careful not to get hornswoggled by those fake online offers.”
  • A person might admit, “I got hornswoggled into buying a fake designer handbag.”

38. Sharp practice

Refers to dishonest or unfair practices, often in a business or professional context. “Sharp practice” implies that someone is engaging in deceitful or unethical behavior to gain an advantage over others.

  • For example, in a discussion about business ethics, someone might say, “Some companies engage in sharp practice to gain a competitive edge.”
  • A journalist might write an article exposing a company’s sharp practice, saying, “They used deceptive tactics to manipulate their customers.”
  • In a legal setting, a lawyer might argue, “The defendant engaged in sharp practice to defraud their clients.”

39. Snow job

Refers to a persuasive or misleading sales pitch, often used to convince someone to buy or agree to something. “Snow job” suggests that someone is being overwhelmed or deceived by an excessive amount of information or promises.

  • For instance, a person might say, “Don’t fall for their snow job. They’re just trying to sell you something you don’t need.”
  • In a discussion about politics, someone might accuse a politician of giving a snow job, saying, “They’re just making empty promises to get elected.”
  • A consumer might complain, “I got a snow job from that car salesman. The car turned out to be a lemon.”

40. Flimflam

To deceive or trick someone, often for personal gain. “Flimflam” is a lighthearted term used to describe a situation where someone is deceived or conned in a clever or dishonest way.

  • For example, if someone sells fake tickets to a concert, they might be accused of flimflamming the buyers.
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Watch out for those flimflam artists trying to sell you fake products.”
  • A person might admit, “I got flimflammed into buying a worthless piece of art.”

41. Gyp

To gyp someone means to cheat or deceive them. It is considered an offensive term that originated from the word “gypsy,” which was historically used as a derogatory term for the Romani people.

  • For example, “He gyped me out of my money by selling me a fake product.”
  • In a conversation about getting scammed, someone might say, “Don’t let them gyp you out of your hard-earned cash.”
  • A person might warn their friend, “Be careful with that seller, they have a reputation for gyping people.”

42. String along

To string someone along means to deceive or mislead them, often by giving false hope or making false promises. It implies keeping someone interested or engaged without any intention of following through.

  • For instance, “He’s been stringing her along for months, making her think they have a future together.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might say, “Don’t let someone string you along if they’re not serious about you.”
  • A person might share their experience, “I was strung along by a job offer that never materialized.”

43. Fake out

To fake someone out means to deceive or trick them by intentionally creating a false impression or misdirection. It often involves unexpected or sudden movements or actions to confuse the other person.

  • For example, “He faked me out with a feint before scoring a goal.”
  • In a conversation about pranks, someone might say, “I fake my friends out every April Fool’s Day.”
  • A person might warn their teammate, “Watch out for his fake-out move, he’s really good at it.”