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

Among the major decisions authored by Abrahamson was a 2005 opinion that struck down caps on the amount of non-economic damages — such as pain and suffering — that could be awarded to victims of medical malpractice. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shirley Abrahamson won't seek another term, setting up race for Wisconsin high court seat," 30 May 2018 Obstetricians face one of the highest rates of malpractice cases. Barbara Brody, Glamour, "The Ob-Gyn Shortage Is Real—And It Might Impact Your Care," 14 Nov. 2018 Caps on damages in medical malpractice cases violate that right. Cary Spivak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds medical malpractice caps in case of Wisconsin woman who lost four limbs," 27 June 2018 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

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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Last Updated

13 Dec 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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