mis·​rule | \ˌmis-ˈrül \
misruled; misruling; misrules

Definition of misrule 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to rule incompetently : misgovern



Definition of misrule (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action of misruling : the condition of being misruled

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Examples of misrule in a Sentence


accused of misruling his island nation to the point of economic collapse


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Zaire of the 1970s had already started a long, steady descent under Mobutu’s misrule that led to its economic collapse and civil war two decades later. The Economist, "Sticky fingersThe dictators who ruined Africa," 11 Jan. 2018 The power is the right to misrule a country without concern for the general welfare of nations or its own citizens. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "Refusing to honor fear," 4 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Famished subjects rail against their country’s misrule. The Economist, "George Benjamin’s defence of opera," 17 May 2018 Many of South Africa’s recent economic travails have been the direct result of the nine-year misrule of the former president Jacob Zuma, who presided over the moral collapse and debasement of the ANC. Peter Godwin, WSJ, "Mandela’s Troubled Legacy," 13 July 2018 Venezuela’s implosion and Nicaragua’s misrule and growing violence threaten to reverse this progress and destabilize the region. Margarita Herdocia, Time, "Nicaragua Is Heading Down the Same Dark Path as Venezuela," 13 June 2018 But this seems to have lost much of its appeal after 14 years of misrule by Shia religious parties. The Economist, "Fifteen years after America’s invasion, Iraq is getting back on its feet," 28 Mar. 2018 Thirty-seven years of misrule by the ZANU-PF had made many citizens mistrustful. Karan Mahajan, The New Republic, "After the Strongman," 26 Mar. 2018 The violence in northern Sinai, stoked by years of Egyptian misrule and the emergence of radical extremist groups in the region, shows little sign of waning. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Israel’s growing ties with former Arab foes," 5 Feb. 2018 Iraq’s Shia rulers thus risk repeating the misrule of Saddam Hussein, the late Sunni dictator: his suppression and displacement of Iraq’s Kurds fuelled their desire for independence, and his repression of Shias helped fan sectarian hatred. The Economist, "The failure to rebuild Mosul could let Islamic State return," 12 Oct. 2017 Who knows what this country will look like after four years of his misrule. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "John Fortunato kicks off campaign for Jefferson Parish sheriff Thursday," 19 Oct. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for misrule

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

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English Language Learners Definition of misrule

: bad government

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full of whispering sounds

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