mis·​be·​got·​ten | \-bi-ˈgä-tᵊn \

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

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 Suddenly, this long, strange trip of a season for these Cavaliers was going to be extended or ended by the misbegotten group surrounding James these days. Tim Bontemps, chicagotribune.com, "For once, LeBron James' supporting cast makes all the difference for Cavaliers," 30 Apr. 2018 As her memory of that misbegotten night improves, Cassie remembers details about another woman - some kind of business associate of Alex's - who visited the hotel room and knocked back vodka while remaining unnervingly sober. Maureen Corrigan, chicagotribune.com, "'The Flight Attendant' is, yes, the perfect airplane read," 19 Mar. 2018 And the tendency to protect students from ideas is so misbegotten that lawmakers can’t go too far wrong by simply reinforcing First Amendment protections. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, kansascity, "Do Kansas college campuses really need free-speech zones? | The Kansas City Star," 6 Mar. 2018 Down in critical categories - points, 3-point percentage, free throw percentage - during the misbegotten Thomas experiment, James sometimes seemed as disinterested as anyone. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Cavaliers trades revived LeBron James, renewed hope: Bill Livingston (photos)," 12 Feb. 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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The first known use of misbegotten was in 1546

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English Language Learners Definition of misbegotten

: badly planned or thought out

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