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A minor crime (as opposed to a felony). A crime - less serious than a felony - which is punishable by fine or imprisonment in a city or county jail rather than in a penitentiary.
This term is used to express every offence inferior to felony, punishable by indictment, or by particular prescribed proceedings; in its usual acceptation, it is applied to all those crimes and offences for which the law has not provided a particular name; this word is generally used in contradistinction to felony; misdemeanors comprehending all indictable offences, which do not amount to felony, as perjury, battery, libels, conspiracies and public nuisances. Misdemeanors have sometimes been called misprisions.