[mis-kree-uh nt]


depraved, villainous, or base.
Archaic. holding a false or unorthodox religious belief; heretical.


a vicious or depraved person; villain.
Archaic. a heretic or infidel.

Origin of miscreant

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French mescreant unbelieving, equivalent to mes- mis-1 + creantLatin crēdent- credent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for miscreant

Contemporary Examples of miscreant

Historical Examples of miscreant

  • The same house can't contain that miscreant and me any longer.

  • The heart of the miscreant swelled with indignation and disappointment.

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • Unless I were a miscreant, I could not but be grateful for such kindness.



  • You are thinking, 'Here is the miscreant, the scoundrel, who destroyed our battleship!'

    The Destroyer

    Burton Egbert Stevenson

  • What miscreant hero had dared perform this sacrilegious exploit?

    Tom, Dick and Harry

    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for miscreant



a wrongdoer or villain
archaic an unbeliever or heretic


evil or villainous
archaic unbelieving or heretical

Word Origin for miscreant

C14: from Old French mescreant unbelieving, from mes- mis- 1 + creant, ultimately from Latin credere to believe
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 miscreant

c.1300, "non-Christian, pagan, infidel;" early 15c., "heretical, unbelieving," from Old French mescreant "disbelieving" (Modern French mécréant), from mes- "wrongly" (see mis- (2)) + creant, present participle of creire "believe," from Latin credere (see credit). Meaning "villainous" is from 1590s.


late 14c., "heathen, Saracen," from miscreant (adj.) or from Old French mescreant, which also had a noun sense of "infidel, pagan, heretic." Sense of "villain" first recorded 1590 in Spenser.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper