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See more synonyms for malpractice on Thesaurus.com
  1. Law. failure of a professional person, as a physician or lawyer, to render proper services through reprehensible ignorance or negligence or through criminal intent, especially when injury or loss follows.
  2. any improper, negligent practice; misconduct or misuse.
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Origin of malpractice

First recorded in 1665–75; mal- + practice
Related formsmal·prac·ti·tion·er [mal-prak-tish-uh-ner] /ˌmæl prækˈtɪʃ ə nər/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for malpractice


  1. immoral, illegal, or unethical professional conduct or neglect of professional duty
  2. any instance of improper professional conduct
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Derived Formsmalpractitioner (ˌmælprækˈtɪʃənə), noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for malpractice


1670s, hybrid coined from mal- + practice (n.). Also used in law for "illegal action by which a person seeks a benefit for himself while in a position of trust" (1758).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

malpractice in Medicine


  1. Improper or negligent treatment of a patient, as by a physician, resulting in injury, damage, or loss.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

malpractice in Culture


Mistakes or negligent conduct by a professional person, especially a physician, that results in damage to others, such as misdiagnosis of a serious illness. Damaged parties often seek compensation by bringing malpractice suits against the offending physician or other professional.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.