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

Hanson is an attorney in Pennsylvania who has defended medical malpractice cases for more than 20 years. Carole Goldberg,, "Write Stuff: Hartford Circus Fire, the ‘Elegant Warrior’, nonviolent action," 19 June 2019 One big win came in a $25 million malpractice settlement in 2012 with law firm Holland & Knight, which had provided legal services to Mr. Nadel’s investment funds. Katy Stech Ferek, WSJ, "For Ponzi Victims, the Aftermath Is Long," 22 June 2019 The law safeguards against patient mistreatment and doctor malpractice by criminalizing coercing someone to request assisted suicide or forging a request for life-ending medication. Fox News, "Maine is 8th state to legalize assisted suicide," 13 June 2019 The only reason Jones is even eligible to be a breakout candidate this year is because of Mike McCarthy’s coaching malpractice. Michael Beller,, "Fantasy Football: Aaron Jones, Chris Godwin Among Early 2019 Breakout Candidates," 11 June 2019 As a result, malpractice insurance is often incredibly expensive. Barbara Brody, Glamour, "The Ob-Gyn Shortage Is Real—And It Might Impact Your Care," 14 Nov. 2018 The decision will rely on whether the court system determines the cases involve personal injury or medical malpractice, the lawyers said. James F. Mccarty,, "New information from University Hospitals raises stakes in fertility clinic lawsuits, lawyers say," 31 Mar. 2018 The stories disclosed that malpractice suits have plummeted in Wisconsin as few lawyers will take the cases. Cary Spivak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds medical malpractice caps in case of Wisconsin woman who lost four limbs," 27 June 2018 CBS News reports that at least seven patients have sued the doctor, accusing her of negligence and that the doctor has settled at least four malpractice suits, including with the Cornelius family for an undisclosed amount. Angela Helm, The Root, "Dancing Dermatologist Has License Yanked by Georgia Medical Board," 9 June 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

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for malpractice

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 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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