mal·​prac·​tice | \ ˌmal-ˈprak-təs How to pronounce malpractice (audio) \

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 The company said the results would help prevent adverse drug reactions and protect doctors from medical malpractice claims, according to the lawsuit. San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Jan. 2022 Recall laws were put in place to deal with egregious acts of malpractice (or unlawful conduct) while in office. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 10 Jan. 2022 Its classification would affect taxation as well as protect investors from fraud and other malpractice. Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 4 Jan. 2022 Physicians and healthcare groups have socked away more than $29 million in their effort to kill a ballot measure that seeks to loosen the existing cap on medical malpractice awards. John Myers, Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2021 But crime and corruption generally serve the director as a window into systemic dysfunction, legal malpractice and even metaphysical quandaries. John Anderson, WSJ, 28 Dec. 2021 APTs are helpful risk management tools for anyone engaged in high-risk business activities, or professionals in highly litigious fields, such as law and medicine, who want to shield family wealth from malpractice claims. Halsey Schreier, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 The Medical Board, which is required to be notified of any malpractice settlement greater than $30,000, took no action. Los Angeles Times, 15 Dec. 2021 Some physicians cut corners; others broke the law or found themselves in malpractice trouble. Caroline Kitchener And Casey Parks, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for malpractice

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The first known use of malpractice was in 1671

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Malpractice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for malpractice



English Language Learners Definition of malpractice

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


mal·​prac·​tice | \ (ˈ)mal-ˈprak-təs How to pronounce malpractice (audio) \

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 How to pronounce malpractice (audio) \

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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