[ mis-di-mee-ner ]
/ ˌmɪs dɪˈmi nər /


Law. a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony.
an instance of misbehavior; misdeed.

Nearby words

  1. misdeal,
  2. misdeed,
  3. misdeem,
  4. misdemean,
  5. misdemeanant,
  6. misdemeanour,
  7. misderive,
  8. misdescribe,
  9. misdiagnose,
  10. misdiagnosis

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for misdemeanour

British Dictionary definitions for misdemeanour


US misdemeanor

/ (ˌmɪsdɪˈmiːnə) /


criminal law (formerly) an offence generally less heinous than a felony and which until 1967 involved a different form of trialCompare felony
any minor offence or transgression
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 misdemeanour



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for misdemeanour


[ (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.)

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.