mal·​prac·​tice | \ˌmal-ˈprak-təs \

Definition of malpractice 

1 : a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one (such as a physician) rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage

2 : an injurious, negligent, or improper practice : malfeasance

Examples of malpractice in a Sentence

a surgeon accused of malpractice Doctors need to have malpractice insurance to protect themselves against lawsuits.

Recent Examples on the Web

There will be meet-and-greets with celebrity pets, brand shops, a dog adoption garden, an adoptable cat café, and a panel with the Animal Legal Defense Fund about malpractice and protecting your pets. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "How to make your dog Instagram-famous, according to an agent for “pet influencers”," 6 Nov. 2018 Yameen challenged the result in the Supreme Court, citing alleged vote rigging, malpractice and corruption. Mohamed Sharuhaan, The Seattle Times, "Maldives court frees opposition leader convicted of bribery," 22 Oct. 2018 Photo: Heather Ainsworth for The Wall Street Journal CNY has had one medical malpractice judgment against it in its 20-year history. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "The Fertility Clinic That Cut IVF Prices in Half," 10 Sep. 2018 At times Deafheaven’s embrace of melodrama verges on malpractice. Greg Kot,, "Deafheaven review: A duel between catharsis and melodrama on 'Ordinary Corrupt Human Love'," 13 July 2018 Wisconsin physicians are required to carry $1 million of medical malpractice insurance and pay premiums to support the fund, which covers claims of more than $1 million. Cary Spivak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Supreme Court takes up challenge to legality of state's caps on medical malpractice payments," 19 Apr. 2018 HealthCare Providers Insurance Exchange, known as HPIX and based in Philadelphia with additional offices in Camp Hill, Pa., was founded in 2002 in the midst of Pennsylvania’s malpractice insurance crisis. Harold Brubaker,, "HPIX malpractice insurer put into liquidation," 29 Jan. 2018 Limiting malpractice damages has been touted as a way to reduce health care spending, but multiple studies haven’t borne out that connection. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "After malpractice caps, doctors ordered fewer invasive tests to diagnose heart attacks," 6 June 2018 What happened in the 1990s with outsourcing was really government malpractice. Michael Scherer,, "With an eye on 2020, Democrats jockey to define their party, and gain an advantage," 12 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malpractice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of malpractice

1671, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for malpractice

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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The first known use of malpractice was in 1671

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English Language Learners Definition of malpractice

law : careless, wrong, or illegal actions by someone (such as a doctor) who is performing a professional duty


mal·​prac·​tice | \(ˈ)mal-ˈprak-təs \

Medical Definition of malpractice 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an accepted degree of professional skill or learning by a physician rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage


intransitive verb
malpracticed; malpracticing

Medical Definition of malpractice (Entry 2 of 2)

: to engage in or commit malpractice


mal·​prac·​tice | \ˌmal-ˈprak-təs \

Legal Definition of malpractice 

: negligence, misconduct, lack of ordinary skill, or a breach of duty in the performance of a professional service (as in medicine) resulting in injury or loss

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Comments on malpractice

What made you want to look up malpractice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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