mis·con·duct | \-ˈkän-(ˌ)dəkt \

Definition of misconduct 

1 : mismanagement especially of governmental or military responsibilities

2 : intentional wrongdoing specifically : deliberate violation of a law or standard especially by a government official : malfeasance

3a : improper behavior

b : adultery

4 : a penalty (as in ice hockey) for improper behavior or abusive language (as toward an official)

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Other Words from misconduct

misconduct \-kən-ˈdəkt \ 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

Some outrageous Trump remark would quickly sweep those stories out of the headlines, but disgruntled former Pruitt staffers made sure his misconduct remained a top focus for months. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Scott Pruitt Shows Loyalty to Trump Protects You — But Only for So Long," 6 July 2018 Amid months of scandal and probes into his ethical misconduct, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned. Niki Mcgloster, Essence.com, "The Quick Read: Lupita Nyong'o To Star In 'Charlie's Angels' Reboot," 6 July 2018 The arrest comes just weeks after Volkswagen tapped a new CEO to move the company past its misconduct. Hailey Mensik, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois, other states hit roadblocks pursuing environmental claims against VW," 18 June 2018 Prosecutorial misconduct found by Judge Ann Becker. Demonstrated inability to work with criminal justice system actors, and Department of Human Services. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's been a rough year for this Wisconsin DA, so he's checked out for the summer," 4 June 2018 Goldsmith said a state law, the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights, set a firm one-year deadline for taking actions against officers after police officials learn of their alleged misconduct. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, "SFPD’s texting scandal: Court rules officers can be disciplined for racist messages," 30 May 2018 Members would be on the hook for all settlements from their own misconduct, including other forms of discrimination such as that is based on gender, race or age. Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, "Senate passes long-stalled bill to address sexual harassment on Capitol Hill," 24 May 2018 Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates and George Papadopoulos – have been charged, though none of the charges are directly related to any misconduct by the president's campaign. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Who's been charged by Mueller in the Russia probe so far?," 13 July 2018 Trainers are also being told to report misconduct to legal authorities first rather than university officials, who in some cases have been accused of keeping accusations quiet. NBC News, "College abuse scandals put sports doctors under new scrutiny," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misconduct.' 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 misconduct

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for misconduct

The first known use of misconduct was in 1705

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English Language Learners Definition of misconduct

: wrong behavior : behavior or activity that is illegal or morally wrong


mis·con·duct | \mis-ˈkän-ˌdəkt \

Kids Definition of misconduct

: bad behavior


mis·con·duct | \mis-ˈkän-dəkt \

Legal Definition of misconduct 

: intentional or wanton wrongful but usually not criminal behavior: as

a : deliberate or wanton violation of standards of conduct by a government official

b : wrongful behavior (as adultery) by a spouse that leads to the dissolution of the marriage

c : 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

d : 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)

e : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on misconduct

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misconduct

Spanish Central: Translation of misconduct

Nglish: Translation of misconduct for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misconduct

What made you want to look up misconduct? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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