misbegotten

adjective
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 Vietnam was a misbegotten war anyway—one that the U.S. deserved to lose; defeat there became a defining event in the history of the American self-image. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "FDR, Coronavirus and the Politics of Bravado," 8 Oct. 2020 Simon was about to get a big second chance to make good on his early pop-star promise when those misbegotten red pills in his pocket derailed his travel plans. Marion Winik, Star Tribune, "Review: 'With or Without You,' by Caroline Leavitt," 10 Aug. 2020 Both presidents mounted full-scale assaults on the social safety net—Bush with his misbegotten attempt to privatize Social Security, Trump in his relentless campaign against the Affordable Care Act. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "Republican Phantasmagoria," 18 June 2020 Fellowship surrounding the holiday season should involve a level of patience toward the quirky, the eccentric, and the misbegotten. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Amy: Eccentric in-law is invited to shut up," 13 Nov. 2019 Moynihan came to acknowledge the misbegotten character of his plans for a guaranteed annual income. Fred Siegel, National Review, "The Forgotten Failures of the Great Society," 9 Jan. 2020 Their misbegotten efforts have not made them human but something much less than that, something base, ignominious—parasites, in fact. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "The Irishman and Parasite: Two Paths for the Hustle," 11 Dec. 2019 Fellowship surrounding the holiday season should involve a level of patience toward the quirky, the eccentric, and the misbegotten. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Amy: Eccentric in-law is invited to shut up," 13 Nov. 2019 The disorder stemmed in part from the Constitution’s misbegotten design for the Electoral College (later revised in 1804 by the 12th Amendment). Michael Medved, WSJ, "Five Best: Michael Medved on Battles for the Presidency," 3 Jan. 2020

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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The first known use of misbegotten was in 1546

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Misbegotten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misbegotten. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for misbegotten

misbegotten

adjective
How to pronounce misbegotten (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of misbegotten

formal : badly planned or thought out

More from Merriam-Webster on misbegotten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misbegotten

Nglish: Translation of misbegotten for Spanish Speakers

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