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 malpractice suits also allege that his substandard care caused irreparable, permanent injury to three patients and life-threatening injuries to two patients, according to court documents. Washington Post, "An OB/GYN mutilated women with unnecessary hysterectomies, tube ties and ‘cleanouts,’ feds say," 11 Nov. 2019 Their lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accuses CHA Fertility of medical malpractice, negligence and a bevy of other charges. Eric Levenson, CNN, "This couple got a stranger's embryo in an IVF mixup, and someone else gave birth to their baby," 10 July 2019 As is common with those who speak up about official malpractice, the whistle-blowers who exposed this particular fraud were viciously harassed by their superiors and driven out of their jobs. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "The Military-Industrial Virus," 10 June 2019 Today, the teaching of American history is worthy of a class-action malpractice suit, and that affects the audience for American art in our colleges, the marketplace of collectors, and museums. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art Bridges’ Art Populism," 14 Sep. 2019 Most states also publish a doctor’s criminal convictions and medical malpractice suits in the doctor’s public file online. Anna Claire Vollers |, al, "Authorities heard sexual misconduct claims against Alabama doctor for more than a decade," 25 Aug. 2019 Applications had begun trickling in when, two weeks after DeSantis was sworn in, four people applied in five days: A hand doctor, a gym owner, a real-estate investor and a medical malpractice defense lawyer. Beth Kassab,, "Gov. DeSantis’ appointees on verge of taking control at Orlando International Airport | Exclusive," 6 Sep. 2019 Medical malpractice law holds health care professionals liable for falling short of the relevant standard of care. Dov Fox, Vox, "The legal limbo of lost embryos," 3 July 2019 In recent years, a number of doctors have faced criminal charges for negligence and malpractice. Maria Danilova, Harper's magazine, "Alternative Medicine," 28 Aug. 2019

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 2019

Time Traveler for malpractice

The first known use of malpractice was in 1671

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More Definitions for malpractice


How to pronounce malpractice (audio)

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 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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Comments on malpractice

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to engage in dissolute behavior

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