One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person convicted of a misdemeanour or guilty of misconduct.
- ‘It was much safer than today's Washington, D.C., with homicides running to one or two per cattle-trading season and marshals mostly concerned with arresting drunks and other misdemeanants.’
- ‘It was a fate suffered both by the state prisoners, who were felons, and by county misdemeanants.’
- ‘First, all sites operated according to a charge priority system, where non-drug felons, drug felons, non-drug misdemeanants, and drug misdemeanants were prioritized hierarchically.’
- ‘‘Court and police precinct records show,’ a municipal agency maintained, ‘that in arrests, convictions, misdemeanants, felons, female police problems and juvenile delinquencies, these areas are in the lead.’’
- ‘In other words, the decision to arrest misdemeanants - adopting that policy in preference to other policing strategies - is a choice with significant distributional consequences for African Americans.’
Early 19th century: from archaic misdemean ‘misbehave’ + -ant.
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