mis·​be·​got·​ten ˌmis-bi-ˈgä-tᵊn How to pronounce misbegotten (audio)
dated : unlawfully conceived : born to parents not married to each other
a misbegotten child
: having a disreputable or improper origin : ill-conceived
antiquated and misbegotten tax lawsR. M. Blough
: contemptible
a misbegotten scoundrel
: 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

Did you know?

In the beginning, there was begietan, and begietan begot beyeten; then in the days of Middle English beyeten begot begeten. All of the Old English and Middle English ancestors 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 with the prefix mis- (meaning "wrongly" or "badly") brought forth misbegotten.

Example Sentences

a misbegotten child who never knew his father
Recent Examples on the Web Sean Payton is not a Junior Mint that can drop into an operation and magically stave off a misbegotten infection. Nick Canepacolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Jan. 2023 Goldman Sachs is paying for its misbegotten foray into consumer banking. Emily Flitter, New York Times, 13 Jan. 2023 Compare it to what Ordell has with his Rolodex of misbegotten women, with their drug problems, attitudes, thievery. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 25 Dec. 2022 Britain’s troubles were magnified by the misbegotten fiscal experiment of Ms. Truss. Mark Landler, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2022 But the end result of Biden’s misbegotten diplomatic effort have finally conjured a breaking point, and there is, at the moment, some real momentum in Congress to plot a new course. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 12 Oct. 2022 That Lopez has pursued love across four marriages, two broken engagements, and assorted misbegotten alliances over 25 years should be news to almost no one. Rob Haskell, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2022 Universities pushed that door wide open, which the Court ratified in the misbegotten 5-4 Grutter v. Bollinger decision in 2003. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 27 Oct. 2022 Those who believe the war is a misbegotten enterprise that needs to end have existed from the operation’s outset. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of misbegotten was in 1546


Dictionary Entries Near misbegotten

Cite this Entry

“Misbegotten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misbegotten. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


mis·​be·​got·​ten ˌmis-bi-ˈgät-ᵊn How to pronounce misbegotten (audio)
: wrongfully or improperly created

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