In Geofffey Branger's Europe 1 column, Audrey Morice of Foodwatch condemns the deception faced by consumers: "And in fact, behind the packaging, the product contains only 0.9% of morels, which is very little and very deceptive." Is she talking about a desire to mislead the consumer, an unfair practice or misleading claims linked to a commercial practice that is a criminal offence? Or is she simply emphasizing the fact that the average consumer will be disappointed because the enticing product claims bear no relation to the true nature of the good he or she thought he or she had purchased?
Deceptive, a neologism?
Disappointing or disappointing? Deceptive seems to be a neologism and is often used for disappointing. Certainly, the consumer can be said to be disappointed at having been deceived.
According to French AcademyDéceptif, a neologism derived from the English word deceptive, is a false friend and is wrongly given the meaning of "disappointing". In fact, deceptive means "deceptive".
So, neologism? Littré, however, reports that the word means "fit to disappoint", quotes Corneille in support of his definition and specifies that it comes from Latin decipere (disappoint)...
Deceptive and deceptiveness
It should be noted, however, that French law, particularly trademark law, seems to be making increasingly frequent use of this adjective and of the noun "déceptivité", which is clearly equated with deceptiveness. In Francis Lefevre we read the following definition of deceptiveOn the subject of a trademark: "a trademark is deceptive, and liable to invalidation, when it is likely to mislead the public, in particular by evoking an inaccurate geographical origin.
Déceptif (or disappointing), a misleading adjective
Let's not get bogged down in linguistic wrangling! If we want to talk about the psychological state in which the consumer may find himself, then we'd prefer the simple adjective "disappointing". On the other hand, if you want to denounce a fraudulent commercial practice or misleading advertising, you'll prefer the adjective "trompeur" if you want to remain intelligible. But "deceptive" seems well-suited to describe the intention to mislead, particularly in the case of misleading advertising, whether or not the deception is a lie, or even an omission. And the consequence of the above is that the customer may have the legitimate feeling of having been cheated, while at the same time feeling disappointment or frustration.nnn Nevertheless, deceptive has also had its place in our language for several centuries, and rightly so!