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

Definition of misbegotten

1 : unlawfully conceived : illegitimate a misbegotten child
2a : having a disreputable or improper origin : ill-conceived antiquated and misbegotten tax laws— R. M. Blough
b : contemptible, deformed a misbegotten scoundrel

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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

This was an allusion to the GOP’s misbegotten nomination of Roy Moore last fall that gave a Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Republican Senate Salvage Job," 9 May 2018 The investment opportunity exists because as the U.S. economy slowly recovered from the 2008 crisis, government agencies and financial institutions wanted to clean up their books and auctioned off billions of dollars of misbegotten credits. Cezary Podkul, WSJ, "‘I Can Be the Bank’: Individual Investors Buy Busted Mortgages," 20 Nov. 2018 Seattle’s efforts, such as the misbegotten jobs tax, might seem noble on the surface. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Washington’s paradox: Progressive politics but regressive tax system," 23 Oct. 2018 Let’s hope respect for dignity prevails and this misbegotten plan dies. Sally Satel And, WSJ, "Oregon Overshoots on Opioids," 16 Aug. 2018 Or, the most likely explanation: Is Mother Nature on the verge of engulfing the White House, and eventually all of America, thus vanquishing the whole misbegotten human experiment? Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Sinkhole/Possible Metaphor Appears Outside White House," 22 May 2018 The approach feels refreshing here, especially after last season's misbegotten Central Park production of Julius Caesar, in which the title character was presented as a Donald Trump parody. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Othello': Theater Review," 19 June 2018 But then again the Reds may reckon that trading away the only good story on their misbegotten team would be nihilistic. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Nine Innings: Three Players Limiting the Cubs, Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s Eruption and Ohtani's Filthy Splitter," 29 May 2018 Regardless of the merits of each case, these misbegotten actions were a direct assault on the Constitution and must be undone. WSJ, "Trump Made Right Call on Iran Nuclear Deal," 14 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of misbegotten

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for misbegotten

The first known use of misbegotten was in 1546

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English Language Learners Definition of misbegotten

formal : badly planned or thought out

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More from Merriam-Webster on misbegotten

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with misbegotten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misbegotten

Spanish Central: Translation of misbegotten

Nglish: Translation of misbegotten for Spanish Speakers

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