A miscreant is a person who behaves badly — who lies, breaks the law, yells at puppies. It's a somewhat old-fashioned word, popular with old ladies shocked at having their purses stolen at the opera.

Words like miscreant, scoundrel, and good-for-nothing are used to condemn people believed to be improper or even evil. If your mom warns you that your friends are a bunch of miscreants, she's concerned that you're hanging out with the wrong kind of crowd and that you might be headed for trouble.

Definitions of miscreant
  1. noun
    a person without moral scruples
    synonyms: reprobate
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    degenerate, deviant, deviate, pervert
    a person whose behavior deviates from what is acceptable especially in sexual behavior
    black sheep, scapegrace
    a reckless and unprincipled reprobate
    someone who performs some wicked deed
    one who engages in fetishism (especially of a sexual nature)
    someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment
    nympho, nymphomaniac
    a woman with abnormal sexual desires
    child molester, paederast, pederast
    a man who has sex (usually sodomy) with a boy as the passive partner
    paedophile, pedophile
    an adult who is sexually attracted to children
    someone who obtains pleasure from inflicting pain on others
    someone who enjoys both sadism and masochism
    lech, lecher, letch, satyr
    man with strong sexual desires
    type of:
    offender, wrongdoer
    a person who transgresses moral or civil law
Commonly confused words

Another "Miscreant" Sighting

Just weeks after we saw miscreant used to describe Chris Christie, we see it again in Sunday's New York Times, where writer William D. Cohan used it to describe the wolf of "The Wolf of Wall Street" fame, Jordan Belfort.

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