Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An undesirable or incorrect feature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Ill feature.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mar the features of; distort or misrepresent the features of.
  • n. A distorted feature; a bad feature or trait.

Etymologies

From mis- +‎ feature. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Fred von Lohmann from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez, The sharp reviewers at iLounge spotted out a misfeature in the new iPod Shuffle that other reviewers overlooked: third party headphones for it apparently will require an Apple 'authentication chip,' something that is already required for various iPod docks.

    Boing Boing

  • My favorite misfeature had to do with the way the compiler handled variable declarations, so that if you tried to create for example, a large array to store sets of polynomials the compilers I worked with would bloat the executable it created....

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Yow!

  • But where Pidgin's UI is spare, even underdesigned, Trillian commits errors such as the worst default preference setting in the history of modern computer software, a misfeature which automatically links some terms in your conversation to Wikipedia articles.

    Is Pidgin the Firefox of IM? - Anil Dash

  • Another misfeature we had in one Whirlpool microwave oven at a hotel we stayed in was that the beeper didn't shut off even if the door was opened; the salesman assured me that wasn't a problem any more.

    August 23rd, 2006

  • The crushing misfeature of recoding PNGs as JPEG is no more, so you can easily add your flags, buttons, icons and other decorative flares of all kinds now.

    Boosting Blogger - Freshblog

  • And to make it work, you have to leave enabled a very dangerous misfeature of an operating system renowned for awful security?

    Switchfoot on DRM

  • It has already been pointed out, by Schneier I think, that this misfeature allows anybody doing simple traffic analysis to discover exactly what you typed.

    Slashdot

  • Firefox 3 has that annoying misfeature of "awesomebar", but with the Old Location Bar add-on and some tweaking of the inis you can get the address bar to behave almost as well as it did in version 2, and after that it's OK.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Digg

  • I have noticed an annoying misfeature of the sound slipping out of sync with the video, though, sometimes by as much as two or three seconds.

    Matthew Skala's home page (RSS)

  • HTTP cache validators (the ETag and Last-Modified headers) when the object requested has no Content-Type, to work around a Firefox misfeature.

    Planet Debian

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Comments

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  • His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
    He furleth close; contented so to look
    On mists in idleness -to let fair things
    Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook: -
    He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
    Or else he would forgo his mortal nature.

    - John Keats, 'The Human Seasons'.

    July 29, 2009

  • A feature that eventually causes lossage, possibly because it is not adequate for a new situation that has evolved. Since it results from a deliberate and properly implemented feature, a misfeature is not a bug. Nor is it a simple unforeseen side effect; the term implies that the feature in question was carefully planned, but its long-term consequences were not accurately or adequately predicted (which is quite different from not having thought ahead at all). A misfeature can be a particularly stubborn problem to resolve, because fixing it usually involves a substantial philosophical change to the structure of the system involved.

    Many misfeatures (especially in user-interface design) arise because the designers/implementors mistake their personal tastes for laws of nature. Often a former feature becomes a misfeature because trade-offs were made whose parameters subsequently change (possibly only in the judgement of the implementors). “Well, yeah, it is kind of a misfeature that file names are limited to six characters, but the original implementors wanted to save directory space and we're stuck with it for now.�?
    —The Jargon File

    Qroqqa comments: The most annoying misfeature for me is the default setting in M$ Word that puts ordinal suffixes after figures into superscript. This is completely useless and unwanted, since it does not correspond to any standard printing convention, but it is now insidiously spreading into normal text.

    July 8, 2008