bad or unwise rule; misgovernment.
disorder or lawlessness.

verb (used with object), mis·ruled, mis·rul·ing.

to misgovern.

Origin of misrule

1300–50; Middle English misreulen (v.), misreule (noun). See mis-1, rule
Related formsmis·rul·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for misrule



(tr) to govern inefficiently or without humanity or justice


inefficient or inhumane government
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 misrule

late 14c., "bad government of a state;" see mis- (1) + rule (n.). Meaning "disorderly conduct or living" is from c.1400, obsolete except in Lord of Misrule, one chosen to preside over Christmas games in a great house (late 15c.).


late 14c., from mis- (1) + rule (v.). Related: Misruled; misruling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper