I was looking through some previous English lessons that I’ve taught and I noticed the prefix mis- is used a lot in English. I thought this would make a great blog post that can help ESL students and teachers all over the world.
The prefix mis- is used before nouns and verbs to show that something is bad or wrong, or done badly or incorrectly
If you have misfortune you have had bad luck. (noun)
To misbehave is to behave badly. (verb)
After more study and research I put together a great post to answer is all your questions about the prefix mis-. Learn with lots of natural example sentences that you can use right away in your own English conversations.
Table of Contents
Words with the prefix MIS-
The prefix mis- means bad or wrong in nouns and wrongly or incorrectly in verbs.
While researching this blog post I found over 1,000 words that begin with the letters M I S. Of course, not all of them are using MIS- as a prefix, but I was surprised but how many words I found using this prefix that I have never used.
For example misdescription
I can guess easily the meaning of this word to mean a description that is incorrect. Even though I can guess the meaning, I’ve never used or heard this word in conversation in my life. (I’m not saying that this word is incorrect, it is just very, very rare.)
I have left words like this out of this post, they are not so beneficial for students who want to learn to communicate in English.
I went through all these words and chose the ones that are the most natural to me. This means the words that I’ve used, heard, or read in my lifelong experience as a Canadian native English speaker.
A couple of the words with this prefix have a very similar meaning.
The verbs misunderstand – misinterpret – misread can all show that a mistake was made in understanding a situation. As you read this list you will become more comfortable with the meanings and soon you will imagine what they mean before you read the definition.
Prefix mis- NOUNS
misadventure death caused by accident, rather than as a result of a crime
- Bruce Lee died in 1973 after taking painkillers for a headache. His death was ruled a misadventure.
misapplication the use of something for the wrong purpose or in the wrong way
- The construction company is charged with misapplication of payments after using city money on private projects.
misbehavior behavior that is considered bad and not acceptable to other people
- I don’t like to see parents discipline their children for misbehavior in public. Please wait until you get home.
miscarriage the process of giving birth to a baby before it is fully developed and able to survive; an occasion when this happens
- Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage.
miscommunication failure to make information or your ideas and feelings clear to somebody, or to understand what somebody says to you
- Most of the couple’s problems stem from a basic miscommunication of their feelings.
misconception a belief or an idea that is not based on correct information, or that is not understood by people
- Fortune cookies did not originate in China, although that is a common misconception. They are actually from Japan.
misdeal (in a card game) a hand dealt wrongly
- The dealer accidentally turned up one of the player’s cards so it was a misdeal. The dealer dealt a new set of cards.
misdeed a bad or evil act
- As a youngster, Ryan was known for his many misdeeds in the small village where he lived.
misdiagnosis an explanation of the nature of an illness or a problem that is not correct
- Doctors must be very careful when diagnosing patients. A misdiagnosis can lead to improper treatment.
misdirection the act of giving wrong information in a film, story, magic act, etc. to make people expect something that does not happen, so that they will be surprised at what actually happens
- Close-up magicians must be masters of misdirection in order to fool their audience.
misfit a person who is not accepted by a particular group of people, especially because their behavior or their ideas are very different
- The misfits in high school are usually the ones who go on to successful careers.
misfortune bad luck
- I’m very grateful for the life I have lived. Others have suffered great misfortune, much more than I.
mishap a small accident or piece of bad luck that does not have serious results *(hap is old English that means luck or fortune.)
- There was a small mishap at school today during the rugby game but everyone is okay.
misinformation the act of giving wrong information about something; the wrong information that is given
- It’s illegal to lie to a police officer or give them misinformation.
misinterpretation a wrong or bad understanding of somebody/something
- His poor report was the result of a complete misinterpretation of the facts.
mismanagement bad management of a problem or situation
- At the audit, the company faced accusations of financial mismanagement.
mismatch a combination of things or people that do not go together well or are not suitable for each other
- I’m not surprised they broke up, I always thought they were a mismatch.
misprint a mistake such as a spelling mistake that is made when a book, etc. is printed
- The newspaper ad said the shoes cost $1,200 but they’re actually only $120. The ad is a misprint.
mistake an action or an opinion that is not correct, or that produces a result that you did not want *(mistake comes from older languages to mean take in error.)
- My computer found several spelling mistakes in my essay.
- It’s okay, everyone makes mistakes.
In English, the noun mistake is used with the verb make to describe an action.
mistreatment a cruel, unkind or unfair way of treating a person or an animal
- Prisoners of War often suffer mistreatment at the hands of their captors.
mistrial a trial that is not considered legally valid because of a mistake in the way it has been conducted
- After 6 weeks of deliberation, the jury still couldn’t decide on a verdict. The judge declared a mistrial.
mistrust a feeling that you cannot trust somebody/something
- The president’s scandals have caused a real sense of mistrust in the country’s population.
misunderstanding a situation in which a comment, an instruction, etc. is not understood correctly
- I apologize if there was some misunderstanding.
Prefix mis- VERBS
misadvise to give wrong or poor advice to (someone)
- After the trial, the defendant felt like he was misadvised but his public attorney.
- New technology can make everyone’s lives easier, but it has the potential to be dangerous if misused or misapplied.
misapprehend – fail to understand (a person or their words) correctly; misinterpret
- It seems like the judge misapprehended the evidence that was presented to him.
misbehave to behave badly
- In elementary school, I would often misbehave in class. I think this caused stress for my teachers.
miscalculate to estimate an amount, a figure, a measurement, etc. wrongly
- The company miscalculated my work hours last month and underpaid me.
miscarry to give birth to a baby before it is fully developed and able to live
- Infection can cause pregnant women to miscarry.
miscast to choose an actor to play a role for which they are not suitable; to give the roles in a play or film to unsuitable actors
- I don’t think that actor is a good choice for the main villain in the movie. I think he was miscast for this part.
miscount to count something wrongly
- Election officials miscounted the votes which affected the results.
misdeal make a mistake when dealing cards
- Professional dealers in Las Vegas are taught to carefully distribute the cards and never misdeal. Misdealing makes players angry and can cause trouble for the casinos.
misdiagnose to give an explanation of the nature of an illness or a problem that is not correct
- Evan was misdiagnosed by the doctor and had to spend an extra six weeks in the hospital.
misdial to call the wrong phone number by mistake
- I wanted to order pizza but I misdialed the number and accidentally called a local accountant.
misdirect to send somebody/something in the wrong direction or to the wrong place
- It is the job of a magician to misdirect his audience so they don’t notice his true actions.
misfile to put away a document in the wrong place
- The records from the Johnson case have all been misfiled. We have to work overtime tonight to correct it.
misfire (of a plan or joke) to fail to have the effect that you had intended
- His plan to make his wife happy has misfired. She is even angrier now.
mishandle to deal badly with a problem or situation
- The city government has mishandled the homeless crisis in our city. It’s only getting worse.
mishear to fail to hear correctly what somebody says, so that you think they said something else
- I think Ryan said he was going to the ballet tonight but I may have misheard him. I don’t think he was a ballet fan.
misinform to give somebody wrong information about something
- We don’t fix computers at the store, I think you have been misinformed.
misinterpret to understand something/somebody wrongly
- Let me be very clear so that no one misinterprets my message.
misjudge to form a wrong opinion about a person or situation, especially in a way that makes you deal with them or it unfairly
- Spencer turned out to be a great guy, I misjudged him at first. I’m glad I took the time to get to know him better.
mislead to give somebody the wrong idea or impression and make them believe something that is not true
- Online scammers confuse and mislead their victims into thinking that there’s a problem with their computer. This is part of their scam.
misidentify – identify (something or someone) incorrectly.
- The bone found in the forest was misidentified as human, but after DNA tests we learned it was the bone of a deer.
mismatch (of things or people) to go together badly or to be not suitable for each other
- These design elements have been mismatched on purpose to draw attention to them.
misprint – to print (something) incorrectly
- This is the second time the newspaper has misprinted my ad. I will never advertise in this paper again.
misplace to put something somewhere and then be unable to find it again, especially for a short time
- I’m always misplacing my car keys. I need to hang a hook by the door so I put them back in the same place every time.
mispronounce to pronounce a word wrongly
- I’m glad to have a unique name but people almost always mispronounce it the first time they try to say it.
misquote to repeat what somebody has said or written in a way that is not correct
- The president never said that. The reporter misquoted him.
misread to understand somebody/something wrongly / to read something wrongly
- Seems like there is no trouble at all, I misread the situation.
misremember to remember something in a way that is not accurate or true
- Movies that don’t do well at the box office can sometimes become cult classics. We often misremember how the movie was received when it first came out.
misreport to give a report of an event, etc. that is not correct
- The company misreported its earnings last year it is now being audited by the tax office.
misrepresent to give information about somebody/something that is not true or complete so that other people have the wrong impression about them/it
- The politician felt that the news was misrepresenting his position on the issue.
misspell to spell a word incorrectly
- My word processing software can find any words that I’ve misspelled in my documents. It’s very handy.
misspeak to say something in a way that is not clear or not accurate
- I don’t think Lucy really feels that, she may have misspoke or you have misunderstood her.
mistake to not understand or judge somebody/something correctly
- After the betrayal, it was clear I mistook the nature of our relationship.
mistranslate translate (something) incorrectly
- The English version of this document doesn’t sound correct. I think it has been mistranslated.
mistreat to treat a person or an animal in a cruel, unkind or unfair way
- It’s difficult to maintain relationships if you are often dishonest or mistreat other people.
mistrust to have no confidence in somebody/something because you think they may be harmful to not trust somebody/something
- He seems honest I have no reason to mistrust him.
mistype make a mistake in typing (a word or letter)
- I need to proofread my emails before I send them, if I mistype something it may cause confusion in the message or look less professional.
misunderstand to fail to understand somebody/something correctly
- I’m not blaming you for the problem so please don’t misunderstand me. This is a group effort and we’re all responsible.
Prefix mis- ADJECTIVES
Most adjectives that use the prefix mis- are the verb in the past participle.
- The misadvised governor has made another terrible decision. (The adjective misadvised comes from the past participle of the verb misadvise)
- The police arrested the wrong person in a case of mistaken identity. (The adjective mistaken comes from the past participle of the verb mistake)
Here are 2 other adjectives with the prefix mis- that do not come from the past participle of the verb form.
misleading giving the wrong idea or impression and making you believe something that is not true
- Most of the ads you see for getting a six-pack show misleading photos. 90% of the time the models in the pictures did not get great stomach muscles by using the product in the ad.
misbegotten badly designed or planned (This is a formal word that I don’t often use but I sometimes see in movies, on TV, or in the news)
- Residents feel like the governor’s misbegotten budget plan ignores the most important places in the state that need funding.
Prefix mis- CONCLUSION
Remember the contents of this post were made from a much larger list of words starting with the prefix mis- so it is not complete. The included words were chosen by me based on how often I use, here, read these words in everyday English.
Printable Prefix MIS- PDF E-guide
Download your printable PDF E-guide below. (It’s FREE!)↓
I want to thank the following websites for their help in making this post.
Check out these other helpful Prefix and Suffix blog posts
- The Suffix -ARY (57 Real examples + Free PDF)
- Learn The English Suffix -y (60 examples + Free PDF download)
- The Prefix Post- (Definitions with 31 Real Examples)
- Prefix SELF- (40 Words, Examples, VIDEO)
- The Prefix RE – 60 examples (Definitions, Free PDF, Video)
- 9 Common Negative Prefixes (200 examples, Free PDF, Video)
- 110 DE Prefix Words (Real Examples, Free PDF + Video)