early 15c., in law, "wrong action; a failure, offense or illegal act," especially on the part of a public official, from Anglo-French misprisoun, mesprisioun "mistake, error, wrong action or speech," (Old French mesprision "mistake, wrongdoing, fault, blame, crime"), from mespris, past participle of mesprendre "to mistake, act wrongly, trespass, transgress, break a law," from mes- "wrongly" (see mis- (2)) + prendre "take," from Latin prendere, contracted from prehendere "to seize" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take").
In general, "criminal neglect in respect to the crime of another," especially in connection with felonies, to indicate a passive complicity, as by concealment. In 16c., misprision of treason was used for lesser degrees of guilt (those not subject to capital punishment), especially for knowing of treasonable actions or plots without assenting to them, but not informing the authorities. This led to the common supposition in legal writers that the word means etymologically "failure to denounce" a crime.
"want of understanding, mistake as to the meaning of something," mid-15c., misunderstonding, verbal noun from misunderstand.
When misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood .... [Lionel Trilling, "Art and Fortune," 1948]
Meaning "dissension, a disagreement, a quarrel" is recorded by 1640s.
Words for "error" in most Indo-European languages originally meant "wander, go astray" (for example Greek plane in the New Testament, Old Norse villa, Lithuanian klaida, Sanskrit bhrama-), but Irish has dearmad "error," from dermat "a forgetting."