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 These examples of malpractice are far from forgotten by the Black community. Dezimey Kum, Time, "Fueled by a History of Mistreatment, Black Americans Distrust the New COVID-19 Vaccines," 28 Dec. 2020 In a just world, all of this official malpractice, particularly on the immigration front, would be assiduously investigated and its perpetrators dragged before some tribunal. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, "Trump’s Most Vicious Cultists Aren’t Done With America," 18 Dec. 2020 In Georgia, the campaign retained Lin Wood, a former medical-malpractice lawyer whose clients have included Richard Jewell and Kyle Rittenhouse. Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker, "The Motley Crew Leading Trump’s Election Challenges," 21 Nov. 2020 Wood began his law practice with a focus on medical malpractice cases, first in Macon and later in Atlanta. Alan Judd, ajc, "Amid personal turmoil, libel lawyer Lin Wood goes on the attack for Trump," 18 Dec. 2020 That probe turned up more malpractice and a decision to dismiss charges that never should have been brought. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Thank You, Bill Barr," 15 Dec. 2020 That was a mistake, establishing joint ownership of Judge Sullivan’s malpractice. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Judge Sullivan’s Final ‘Verdict’," 10 Dec. 2020 The district cited multiple lawsuits in which social media postings were considered relevant to civil claims, including lawsuits against cities, malpractice cases and foreclosures. Rafael Olmeda,, "School district seeks social media posts of Parkland victims’ families," 8 Dec. 2020 In this case, inviting Newsom to such a problematic event was political malpractice. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, "Courts will decide if Newsom exceeded his executive power. Californians are judging his hypocrisy," 19 Nov. 2020

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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Statistics for malpractice

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malpractice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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