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From Middle English mysrule; equivalent to mis- +‎ rule.



misrule (countable and uncountable, plural misrules)

  1. The state of being ruled badly; disorder, lawlessness, anarchy. [from 15th c.]
    • 1820, [Walter Scott], chapter XIV, in The Abbot. [], volume I, Edinburgh: [] [James Ballantyne & Co.] for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, []; and for Archibald Constable and Company, and John Ballantyne, [], →OCLC, page 300:
      They followed their leader in regular procession, and the motley characters, which had waited his arrival, now crowded into the church in his train, shouting as they came,—“A hall, a hall! for the venerable Father Howleglas, the learned Monk of Misrule, and the Right Reverend Abbot of Unreason!”
    • 1838, Samuel K[irkland] Lothrop, A Sermon Preached Before the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, at the Close of a Second Century from Their Charter Incorporation, Boston, June 4, 1838, Being the Occasion of Their CCth Anniversary, Boston, Mass.: Weeks, Jordan and Company. [], page 29:
      Before and after the revolution, in the several states and in the country at large, pressing emergencies have occurred, periods of danger, trouble and dismay have arisen, when the community was full of misrule, and a particular state or the nation, seemed to be upon the brink of some fearful and disastrous change—yet the danger passed quickly away.
  2. Misgovernment; bad or unjust government. [from 15th c.]
    • 2011, Thomas Penn, Winter King, Penguin, published 2012, page 52:
      But in the recent past, there had been plenty of accusations and instances of Henry's oppressive misrule, of which the execution of the earl of Warwick, Suffolk's cousin, was the most recent and emphatic example.


misrule (third-person singular simple present misrules, present participle misruling, simple past and past participle misruled)

  1. (law) Of a trial judge, to make a bad decision in court.
  2. To rule badly; to misgovern.

See also[edit]