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mis·pri·sion 1

1. Neglect in performing the duties of public office.
2. Law The criminal offense of concealing, or neglecting to report or prevent, a felony or act of treason one had knowledge of but did not participate in: misprision of a felony; misprision of treason.
3. Seditious conduct.
a. Misunderstanding or misinterpretation: "to show that everything once viewed as truth and light is no more than shadow and misprision" (Edward Rothstein).
b. A misreading or misinterpretation of a text, especially as a means of distinguishing oneself from a literary predecessor.

[Middle English, illegal act on the part of a public official, from Anglo-Norman, mistake, misdeed, variant of Old French mesprison, from mespris, past participle of mesprendre, to make a mistake : mes-, wrongly; see mis-1 + prendre, to take, seize (from Latin prehendere, prēndere; see ghend- in Indo-European roots).]

mis·pri·sion 2

Contempt; disdain.

[mispris(e) (variant of misprize) + -ion.]


a. a failure to inform the proper authorities of the commission of an act of treason
b. the deliberate concealment of the commission of a felony
[C15: via Anglo-French from Old French mesprision error, from mesprendre to mistake, from mes- mis-1 + prendre to take]


1. (Law) contempt
2. failure to appreciate the value of something
[C16: from misprize]


(mɪsˈprɪʒ ən)

1. a neglect or violation of official duty by one in office.
2. failure by one not an accessory to prevent or notify the authorities of treason or felony.
3. a contempt against the government or courts, as sedition or contempt of court.
4. a mistake; misunderstanding.
[1375–1425; late Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French mesprision=mes- mis-1 + prision < Latin pr(eh)ēnsiōnem; see prehension]


(mɪsˈprɪʒ ən)

contempt or scorn.
[1580–90; misprize + -ion, on the model of misprision1]


improper conduct or neglectful behavior, especially by a person who holds public office.
See also: Crime
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References in classic literature ?
Borthrop Trumbull really knew nothing about old Featherstone's will; but he could hardly have been brought to declare any ignorance unless he had been arrested for misprision of treason.
He discovers that "potential matters of fact are surrounded, in common conversations on both sides of the frontier, by a haze of half-baked understandings and misprisions.
The Life photograph arguably summarizes these misprisions of Frankenthaler's work, subsuming the term "passive" to the modifier "woman.
These comic misprisions are an early index of the frustrating and indeterminate generic character of the writing: travel book?
This accusation stemmed from a statement the MB released on March 24 criticizing Kamal Al-Ganzoury's government over its monstrous failures and questioning SCAF's intentions by clinging so strongly to the misprisions of the government.
To the chapters themselves: Madeline Dobie's "Translation in the Contact Zone: Antoine Galland's Milk et une nuits: contes arabes," well placed as the inaugural essay, cogently illuminates the misprisions involved in the unexamined supposition that one is working with a text fixed a priori in time and language, and demonstrates to the reader "a multilayered process involving multiple stages of oral and written exchange over several adjacent languages" (49), cultures, and traditions, that takes place in "an invaginated boundary" (49).
Here we saw afresh the close readings and misprisions that Weber and kindred early American avant-gardists explored in order to mark a distance from, and homage to, their European forebear.
Abraham Becker observes that Le Roy's astute criticism of the earlier commentary tradition suggests that many of his own misprisions are intentional.
Jameson's concept treats desire quite differently to both Deleuze and Lyotard, who by contrast to Jameson, at least in the period of their work to which Jameson is referring (Anti-Oedipus for Deleuze and The Libidinal Economy for Lyotard), treat it as a 'pure' force subject to monstrous restraints, repressions and misprisions that only a clean break with psychoanalysis could possibly resolve.
She teaches craft, as in a studio or laboratory course, sharply focused on practice of technique, on following models, imitating styles and characteristics of other writers, or perhaps practicing misprisions, creative misreadings of other writers, resisting influences in order to protect independence.
See 4 WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, COMMENTARIES * 121 (detailing the various types of misprisions and contempts in the English law of the time).
We can correct the misprisions of our present critical usage by tracing the origins and history of our language.