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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English myscreaunt, miscreaunt, from Old French mescreant (1080) "mis-believer", present participle of mescreire "to misbelieve" (modern mécroire).


  • (UK, US) enPR: mĭsʹkrē-ənt, IPA(key): /ˈmɪs.kɹi.ənt/
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miscreant (comparative more miscreant, superlative most miscreant)

  1. Lacking in conscience or moral principles; unscrupulous.
  2. (theology) Holding an incorrect religious belief.



miscreant (plural miscreants)

  1. One who has behaved badly, or illegally.
    The teacher sent the miscreants to see the school principal.
  2. One not restrained by moral principles; an unscrupulous villain.
    • a. 1719, Joseph Addison, A Riddle of Dean Swift's verfified:
      A meagre Catchpole hurries me to fail; No Miscreant, so remorseless, ever tore
      Thy Journals, Fog, or knock'd at Franklin's door
  3. (theology) One who holds a false religious belief; a misbeliever.
    • c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. [] The First Part [], 2nd edition, part 1, London: [] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, [], published 1592, →OCLC; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire, London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act III, scene iii:
      Now wil the Chriſtian miſcreants be glad,
      Ringing with ioy their ſuperſtitious belles:
      And making bonfires for my ouerthrow.
      But ere I die thoſe foule Idolaters
      Shall make me bonfires with their filthy bones, []
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book I, Canto IV”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, stanza 41:
      Arise thou cursed Miscreaunt,
      That hast with knightlesse guile and trecherous train
      Faire knighthood fowly shamed
    • 1825, Thomas De Quincey, “The Love-charm”, in Quarterly Magazine, Knight:
      Before thine eyes, thou mild and blessed one, said he, half aloud, are these miscreants daring to hold their market, and trafficking in their hellish drugs