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misdemeanor

[mis-di-mee-ner]
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noun
  1. Law. a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony.
  2. an instance of misbehavior; misdeed.
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Also especially British, mis·de·mean·our.

Origin of misdemeanor

First recorded in 1480–90; mis-1 + demeanor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for misdemeanor

n.

also misdemeanour, "legal class of indictable offenses," late 15c.; from mis- (1) "wrong" + Middle English demenure (see demeanor). Related: Misdemeanors; misdemeanours.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

misdemeanor in Culture

misdemeanor

[(mis-di-mee-nuhr)]

A minor crime, punishable by a fine or a light jail term. Common misdemeanors, such as traffic violations, are usually dealt with informally, without a trial. (Compare felony.)

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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.