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misconstrue (verb) misunderstand.
When you misconstrue someone's words or actions, you misunderstand them. When you mistake something for something else, you misconstrue. 'People misconstrued his confidence as arrogance.' This means that people misunderstood his confidence as arrogance. They mistook his confidence for pride. When you misconstrue someone's collecting money from you for getting you something, you misunderstand that they are taking money from you for some other purpose.
- He has misconstrued my real intention to help him; he thinks wrongly that I am being pleasant to him because I want some favor from him.
- When I wished him quick promotion he misconstrued it as my eagerness to succeed him to his present position. He thought my wishes for his promotion were prompted by my desire to succeed him.