mis·​be·​got·​ten | \ ˌmis-bi-ˈgä-tᵊn How to pronounce misbegotten (audio) \

Definition of misbegotten

1 dated : unlawfully conceived : born to parents not married to each other a misbegotten child
2a : having a disreputable or improper origin : ill-conceived antiquated and misbegotten tax laws— R. M. Blough
b : contemptible a misbegotten scoundrel
c : deformed The road brought you to a desert place among ruins, where was a door in a hillside, and hard by the door a misbegotten pine.— Robert Louis Stevenson

Keep scrolling for more

Did you know?

In the beginning, there was bigietan, and bigietan begot beyeten; then in the days of Middle English beyeten begot begeten, and from thence sprung misbegotten. That description may be a bit flowery, but it accurately traces the path that led to misbegotten. All of the Old English and Middle English ancestors listed above basically meant the same thing as the modern beget-that is, "to father" or "to produce as an effect or outgrowth." That linguistic line brought forth misbegotten by adding the prefix mis- (meaning "wrong," "bad," or "not") in the mid-1500s.

Examples of misbegotten in a Sentence

a misbegotten child who never knew his father
Recent Examples on the Web While the Bush administration was engaged in its misbegotten wars, North Korea obtained nuclear weapons. Michael Krepon, Forbes, 30 Aug. 2021 The very concept of ‘cultural appropriation’ is misbegotten. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021 Arthur doesn’t need to be given voice when his misbegotten views have proved to cause so much pain, destruction, animosity and death in this country. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2021 Does the stunning rapidity of the collapse of the Afghan government and security forces mean, as some on the anti-interventionist right have argued, that this entire 20-year-long chapter was misbegotten? The Editors, National Review, 15 Aug. 2021 But John Lee’s False Positive, a new gloss on the material starring Ilana Glazer (who also co-wrote it) and Justin Theroux, may as well be that child born of Rosemary: damned, ugly and misbegotten. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 25 June 2021 Moreover, the Biden Administration is worsening things with its misbegotten war against fossil fuels. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 17 June 2021 Even after the spinoff, ending the misbegotten media debacle may not be as easy as AT&T hopes. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, 18 May 2021 Since then, the restaurant has changed owners several times, including a brief, misbegotten rebranding in the early 1980s as Buon Appetito, which abandoned pies altogether along with the rest of the site’s history. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misbegotten.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of misbegotten

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About misbegotten

Time Traveler for misbegotten

Time Traveler

The first known use of misbegotten was in 1546

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About misbegotten

Dictionary Entries Near misbegotten




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for misbegotten

Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Misbegotten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misbegotten. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for misbegotten



English Language Learners Definition of misbegotten

: badly planned or thought out

More from Merriam-Webster on misbegotten

Nglish: Translation of misbegotten for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!