mis·​spend ˌmis-ˈspend How to pronounce misspend (audio)
misspent ˌmis-ˈspent How to pronounce misspend (audio) ; misspending

transitive verb

: to spend wrongly : squander
a misspent life

Examples of misspend in a Sentence

Several government officials have been accused of misspending public money. warned that a childhood spent hanging around indoors was a misspent youth indeed
Recent Examples on the Web Critics say Proposition 28 arts funding is being misspent. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2024 Often, House Republicans have blasted the president for misspending coronavirus relief money, even though federal investigators have found the worst abuses occurred during the Trump administration. Tony Romm, Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2024 Protect taxpayers from record high tax rates that get misspent in foreign wars of no strategic value to Americans. The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Feb. 2024 The longtime head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, misspent millions of dollars of the organization’s money, using the funds to pay for an extravagant lifestyle that included exotic getaways and trips on private planes and superyachts, a New York jury determined Friday. Jake Offenhartz, Fortune, 24 Feb. 2024 After reporting a $36 million deficit in 2018, fueled mostly by misspending, the NRA cut back on longstanding programs that had been core to its mission for decades, including training and education, recreational shooting and law enforcement initiatives. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 7 Jan. 2024 The former director of the state's welfare agency pleaded guilty last year in a conspiracy to misspend the millions of dollars in the largest public corruption case in the state's history. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 7 Nov. 2023 The Associated Press reported June 13 that scammers and swindlers potentially swiped about $280 billion in COVID-19 emergency aid; another $123 billion was wasted or misspent. Richard Lardner, Fortune, 27 June 2023 California has seen multiple other controversies in recent years, not just A3, involving people accused of misspending public dollars through charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently run. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Dec. 2023

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near misspend

Cite this Entry

“Misspend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misspend. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


mis·​spend (ˈ)mis-ˈspend How to pronounce misspend (audio)
misspent -ˈspent How to pronounce misspend (audio) ; misspending
: waste entry 2 sense 3, squander
a misspent youth

More from Merriam-Webster on misspend

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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