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From Anglo-Norman mesprison, mesprisioun et al., from mespris + -ion.


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misprision (countable and uncountable, plural misprisions)

  1. (law) Criminal neglect of duty or wrongful execution of official duties.
  2. (law) The failure to give information about a crime that one knows to be taking place.
    misprision of a felony, of heresy, or of treason
  3. Misinterpretation or misunderstanding.
    • 1595, Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, III - 2
      What hast thou done? thou hast mistaken quite
      And laid the love-juice on some true-love's sight:
      Of thy misprision must perforce ensue
      Some true love turn'd and not a false turn'd true.
    • 1984, Martin Amis, Money, Vintage 2005, p. 331:
      they have what men call self-belief and blame you for your misprisions in their dreams, they are conspiracy theorists, benevolent dictators []

Usage notesEdit

Negative misprision is misprision by neglect of duty, notably a duty to report information about a felony or treason. Positive misprision is maladministration or the commission of other serious offence falling short of actual felony or treason.