Law. a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony.
an instance of misbehavior; misdeed.
Also, especially British, misdemeanour.

1480–90; mis-1 + demeanor

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World English Dictionary
misdemeanour or (US) misdemeanor (ˌmɪsdɪˈmiːnə)
1.  criminal law Compare felony (formerly) an offence generally less heinous than a felony and which until 1967 involved a different form of trial
2.  any minor offence or transgression
misdemeanor or (US) misdemeanor

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

also misdemeanour, "legal class of indictable offenses," late 15c.; from mis- (1) "wrong" + M.E. demenure (see demeanor). Related: Misdemeanors; misdemeanours.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
misdemeanor [(mis-di-mee-nuhr)]

A minor crime, punishable by a fine or a light jail term. Common misdemeanors, such as traffic violations, are usually dealt with informally, without a trial. (Compare felony.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
They woke up on March 7th facing 25 years to life for even misdemeanor crimes.
Iowa's attorney general slapped the company with more than 9000 criminal
  misdemeanor charges, including child-labor violations.
At least they only convicted her of misdemeanors.
She is charged with obtaining food or lodging with intent to defraud, a second
  degree misdemeanor.
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