1 of 2


mis·​rule ˌmis-ˈrül How to pronounce misrule (audio)
misruled; misruling; misrules

transitive verb

: to rule incompetently : misgovern


2 of 2


: the action of misruling : the condition of being misruled

Examples of misrule in a Sentence

Verb accused of misruling his island nation to the point of economic collapse Noun The people of that country have endured many years of misrule. the country's long period of misrule had made it a hotbed for terrorist organizations
Recent Examples on the Web
Although bin Laden eventually was killed and his al-Qaida network blunted as an international threat, Afghans are still caught in a cycle of violence and misrule with no end in sight. Robert Burns, Anchorage Daily News, 18 July 2021
Whatever follows Hamas’s bloody and terrible period of misrule can only be a relative improvement. Noah Rothman, National Review, 26 Oct. 2023 The magazine is part of a growing community that has been systematically documenting the party’s misrule, from past famines to the COVID pandemic. Ian Johnson, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 After decades of Bashir’s misrule, Burhan’s army is weak and divided. Comfort Ero, Foreign Affairs, 26 May 2023 Bush, whose time in office set the U.S. on its current course of war, privatization, and financial ruin, is on the road to being absolved of his responsibility for the current chaos because Trump’s misrule has been a debacle sufficient to occlude the memory of those grievous sins. Eoin Higgins, The New Republic, 1 Sep. 2020 The result surely would be permanent misrule. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 21 July 2021 With his wry, tender, and nuanced view of village life, Panahi focusses on the confluence of tradition and authority to blur the line between oppressed and oppressors, and to offer—beyond the drama at hand—an overarching philosophical vision of tyrannical misrule. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2022 Whether or not Putin is ever put in handcuffs, his place in history is now secure in the darkest pages of massacres and misrule. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 18 Mar. 2023 With long-standing grievances over Iran’s weak economy, corruption, and clerical misrule swelling the ranks of protesters further, some had even predicted that the regime would fall. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'misrule.' 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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of misrule was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near misrule

Cite this Entry

“Misrule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misrule. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
mis·​rule (ˈ)mis-ˈrül How to pronounce misrule (audio)
: to rule or govern badly


2 of 2 noun
: the action of misruling : the state of being misruled

More from Merriam-Webster on misrule

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!