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Imagine a situation where one sees a woman without being aware of her surroundings and concludes wrongly something about her and the group she is a part of. For example, the person sees the writings on woman's face and proceeds to conclude that the she is part of a protest group, but is soon told otherwise. Now the person sees the bigger picture and learns that it was actually a football match. What may he respond? I'm looking for the right response.

"Sorry, I was ... by that woman" "The woman ... me" maybe: "Sorry, I was misled by that woman" "That girl tricked me (into thinking it was a protest)" "I was deceived by that woman"

There must be a more fitting word.

I'm looking for a verb which describes the woman's unintentional misleading of a person into concluding wrongly.

She was the reason why the person came to the wrong conclusion, because women rarely attend football matches so one concluded it was something more plausible. As if the person was tricked into believing something based on a single characteristics which turned out to be the one which can't represent the entire group.

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You are right that "I was deceived by that woman" or "That woman tricked me" do not unambiguously convey the unintentional nature of effect on you of the woman's facial expression. And there may be a more fitting word (which doesn't occur to me at the moment), but it would be wrong to think that there must be.

You can, however, accurately convey the meaning by making yourself the agent of the misconception rather than the woman. For example:

I misread the expression on that woman's face.

I misinterpreted what that woman was thinking or doing.

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    I jumped to the wrong conclusion. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 20 '13 at 13:01
  • @EdwinAshworth That seems like a good answer, to me. I reckon you ought post it as one. – user867 Oct 21 '13 at 2:26
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Sorry, I was fooled by that woman's face

This makes it clear who was at fault.

Otherwise, you could adopt the adjective form, foolish. Again, you do not want to insinuate that the woman was responsible in any way for deceiving your friend. She wasn't.

I apologise, I was foolish to think that there was a protest.

and similarly

My mistake. I was foolish to presume women don't go to football matches.

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While you are asking what the woman did, perhaps you should focus on what you did (as several of my colleagues have suggested).

Sorry, I misjudged that woman.

If you insist on a structure that emphasizes your victimhood,

Sorry, I was led astray by my rash jumping to conclusions before I had a chance to understand the message that woman was trying to convey.

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Misconstrue could possibly be the word suited for this. "Misconstrue- interpret (something, especially a person's words or actions) wrongly."

  • Misconstrue is the action of the person making the error. The question is asking about the action of the person leading someone into making a misconstruction. – Chenmunka Aug 22 '18 at 8:13

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