mis·​con·​duct ˌmis-ˈkän-(ˌ)dəkt How to pronounce misconduct (audio)
: mismanagement especially of governmental or military responsibilities
: intentional wrongdoing
specifically : deliberate violation of a law or standard especially by a government official : malfeasance
: improper behavior
: a penalty (as in ice hockey) for improper behavior or abusive language (as toward an official)
misconduct transitive verb

Examples of misconduct in a Sentence

He was forced to defend himself against charges of sexual misconduct. There have been reports of misconduct by several employees.
Recent Examples on the Web As Suh explains, the women expressed just wanting to get on with their work, for C.K.’s misconduct not to be the only thing they’re known for. Jada Yuan, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2023 But aldermen on both sides of the political spectrum agreed: The cost to the city for these misconduct lawsuits is far too great. Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune, 11 Sep. 2023 Before Benedicto, the last permanent executive director was Nadine Jarmon, whom the housing authority's board of commissioners suspended with pay and later fired in 2021 after Jarmon had alleged that commissioners were engaged in misconduct. Joseph Flaherty, Arkansas Online, 9 Sep. 2023 The police department will also be required to submit to independent third-party reviews for complaints involving serious misconduct or use of force, the state Attorney General's Office said. Minnah Arshad, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2023 Solano faces charges of second-degree murder, misconduct with weapons and tampering with evidence. Rey Covarrubias Jr., The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 Lawyers don’t have to prove the attorney general is guilty of bribery or other misconduct laid out in the allegations. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, 8 Sep. 2023 Attorneys for the 55-year-old alleged in a new court filing that Rebecca Hill, Colleton County's Clerk of Court, engaged in intentional misconduct — deliberately violating a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial before an impartial jury — to secure financial gain for herself. Allison Elyse Gualtieri, CBS News, 5 Sep. 2023 He was hit with 12 charges total: nine counts allege wire fraud and three allege misconduct by court officers, stemming from allegations that the defendants failed to distribute money owed to their clients. Doha Madani, NBC News, 30 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'misconduct.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of misconduct was in 1705

Dictionary Entries Near misconduct

Cite this Entry

“Misconduct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misconduct. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


mis·​con·​duct (ˈ)mis-ˈkän-(ˌ)dəkt How to pronounce misconduct (audio)
: bad management
: improper or unlawful behavior
misconduct verb

Legal Definition


mis·​con·​duct mis-ˈkän-dəkt How to pronounce misconduct (audio)
: intentional or wanton wrongful but usually not criminal behavior: as
: deliberate or wanton violation of standards of conduct by a government official
: wrongful behavior (as adultery) by a spouse that leads to the dissolution of the marriage
: an attorney's violation of the standards set for professional conduct
also : an attorney's and especially a prosecutor's use of deceptive or reprehensible methods in presenting a case to a jury
: impermissible behavior by a juror (as communicating about the case with outsiders, witnesses, or others, reading or hearing news reports about the case, or independently introducing evidence to other jurors)
: an employee's deliberate or wanton disregard of an employer's interests or disregard or violation of the employer's standards or rules that is sufficient to justify a denial of unemployment compensation

More from Merriam-Webster on misconduct

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