This is a phrase oft-used by real estate agents. Their use of it typically implies a positive connotation i.e. a deceptively spacious house is really spacious, perhaps surprisingly so. But really this phrase means the opposite, doesn't it? Surely a deceptively spacious house deceives you into thinking it's spacious when in fact it isn't. The spaciousness is deceptive and hence not real.

I'm curious what people understand this phrase to mean.

  • It means although it doesn't look spacious, it actually is. Think about it, why would any real-estate agent try to convince you of the opposite?
    – Tushar Raj
    Jun 1 '15 at 11:59
  • This question may help clarify application of the word "deceptively"... english.stackexchange.com/questions/25013/…. The first answer is the one I personally would agree with, but the fact remains that you would get varying opinions.
    – trpt4him
    Jun 1 '15 at 12:03
  • @trpt4him Thanks for this—I realise now that it's a broader question than my particular example. It's interesting to see how divisive the answers are! Jun 1 '15 at 12:08
  • My brother, when just having driven along a section of the road marked DECEPTIVE BEND: "Hmm. Didn't look deceptive, did it?" I think the estate-agent-speak can probably be translated as "tiny".
    – Margana
    Jun 1 '15 at 14:20

My take on it: If you look at the house from the outside, it does not look like much. But when you enter you discover it to be pretty spacious.

The outside appearance was deceiving you.

  • Yep—to me it is clear what the intent is but it feels dissonant if you think more deeply about it e.g. if you replace "deceptively" with "deceivingly". Jun 1 '15 at 12:11

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