Entries linking to misconstruction
prefix of Germanic origin affixed to nouns and verbs and meaning "bad, wrong," from Old English mis-, from Proto-Germanic *missa- "divergent, astray" (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon mis-, Middle Dutch misse-, Old High German missa-, German miß-, Old Norse mis-, Gothic missa-), perhaps literally "in a changed manner," and with a root sense of "difference, change" (compare Gothic misso "mutually"), and thus possibly from PIE *mit-to-, from root *mei- (1) "to change."
Productive as word-forming element in Old English (as in mislæran "to give bad advice, teach amiss"). In 14c.-16c. in a few verbs its sense began to be felt as "unfavorably," and it came to be used as an intensive prefix with words already expressing negative feeling (as in misdoubt). Practically a separate word in Old and early Middle English (and often written as such). Old English also had an adjective (mislic "diverse, unlike, various") and an adverb (mislice "in various directions, wrongly, astray") derived from it, corresponding to German misslich (adj.). It has become confused with mis- (2).
late 14c., construccioun, "act of construing; manner of understanding the arrangement of words in translation" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin constructionem (nominative constructio) "a putting or placing together, a building," noun of action from past-participle stem of construere "to pile up together, accumulate; build, make, erect," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + struere "to pile up" (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- "to spread").
The oldest sense in English goes with construe, and led to the meanings "the construing, explaining, or interpreting of a text" (late 15c.) and "explanation of the words of a legal document" which endures in parliamentary language ("What construction do you put on this clause?"); also compare constructionist.
From early 15c. as "act of building or making;" 1707 as "way or form in which a thing is built or made;" 1796 as "that which is constructed, a structure." Related: Constructional; constructionally.