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How to pronounce misdemeanour (audio)


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Dictionary definition of misdemeanour

A criminal offense that is considered to be less serious than a felony.
"He was charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct."

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Detailed meaning of misdemeanour

Misdemeanors are usually punishable by fines, short-term imprisonment, or both. Examples of misdemeanors include minor traffic violations, disorderly conduct, petty theft, and simple assault. Misdemeanors are typically dealt with in lower courts such as municipal or district courts, whereas felonies are typically dealt with in higher courts such as state or federal courts. The specific penalties for a misdemeanor conviction can vary depending on the jurisdiction, the nature of the crime, and the offender's prior criminal record. The legal standard of proof required for conviction of a misdemeanor is generally lower than the standard required for a felony conviction.

Example sentences containing misdemeanour

1. Jay's misdemeanor resulted in a fine and community service.
2. A misdemeanor conviction can affect future job prospects.
3. She faced a misdemeanor charge for shoplifting.
4. Public intoxication is often considered a misdemeanor.
5. The judge sentenced him to probation for his misdemeanor.
6. Minor traffic violations are typically classified as misdemeanors.

History and etymology of misdemeanour

The noun 'misdemeanor' has an etymology that can be traced back to Middle English and Latin. It is derived from the Middle English word 'misdemenure,' which combines 'mis-' meaning 'wrongly' or 'badly,' and 'demenure,' meaning 'behavior' or 'conduct.' The term 'misdemenure' was influenced by the Latin phrase 'mala minuta,' which means 'minor wrongdoing.' In Latin, 'mala' means 'wrong' or 'evil,' and 'minuta' means 'small' or 'lesser.' 'Misdemeanor' entered the English language in the 16th century and is used to describe a criminal offense that is considered to be less serious than a felony. Its etymology underscores the idea of wrongful conduct that is of lesser magnitude, as implied by its Middle English and Latin origins, emphasizing the distinction between minor and major offenses in the realm of criminal law.

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Further usage examples of misdemeanour

1. Committing a misdemeanor can tarnish one's criminal record.
2. He had to attend a class as part of his misdemeanor sentence.
3. She received a misdemeanor citation for disorderly conduct.
4. Misdemeanors carry lighter penalties than felonies.
5. The misdemeanor offense led to a brief jail stay.
6. Vandalism is usually treated as a misdemeanor crime.
7. A misdemeanor can still result in fines and probation.
8. He regretted his momentary lapse that led to a misdemeanor.
9. The misdemeanor charge was dropped due to lack of evidence.
10. Petty theft is often categorized as a misdemeanor.
11. An expunged misdemeanor doesn't appear on background checks.
12. Some states classify marijuana possession as a misdemeanor.
13. Misdemeanors may include public disturbances or fraud.
14. Her misdemeanor conviction haunted her job search.
15. He faced misdemeanor charges for reckless driving.
16. Juvenile misdemeanors can have long-term consequences.
17. A misdemeanor can impact child custody disputes.
18. The misdemeanor case was resolved through mediation.
19. Misdemeanors may lead to probation instead of jail time.



minor offense, felony, serious crime, lawfulness


Prefix mis-, SAT 7 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Law and Order, Crime and Lawlessness

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