misconstrue

To misconstrue is to get the wrong idea about something. If you misconstrue a friend’s silence, you might get mad at him for ignoring you — until you find out he has a sore throat and can’t talk.

The verb misconstrue comes from mis- meaning "wrong" and construe meaning "construction." Combined they mean "to put a wrong construction on" — in other words, to interpret in the wrong way. Sometimes people can intentionally allow others to misconstrue something for personal gain. For example, a politician may let voters misconstrue her voting record if she believes doing so will help her get elected.

Definitions of misconstrue
  1. verb
    interpret in the wrong way
    “She misconstrued my remarks”
    synonyms: be amiss, misapprehend, misconceive, misinterpret, misunderstand
    see moresee less
    type of:
    construe, interpret, see
    make sense of; assign a meaning to
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