malformed (adj.) Look up malformed at
1801, from mal- + formed, past participle of form (v.).
malfunction (n.) Look up malfunction at
1827, from mal- "bad, badly, wrong" + function. As a verb, by 1888. Related: Malfunctioned; malfunctioning.
Mali Look up Mali at
modern African nation, known by that name from 1959, formerly French Sudan. The name is that of a former African kingdom (13c.-14c.), perhaps from Malinke, name of an indigenous people of the region.
malic (adj.) Look up malic at
1797, from French malique (18c.), from Latin malum "apple" (the acid, discovered 1785 by Scheele, was obtained from unripe apples and other fruits), from Greek melon (Doric malon) "apple," probably from a pre-Greek Mediterranean language. The Latin and Greek words also meant "fruit" generally, especially if exotic.
malice (n.) Look up malice at
c. 1300, "desire to hurt another," from Old French malice "ill will, spite, sinfulness, wickedness" (12c.), from Latin malitia "badness, ill will, spite," from malus "bad, unpleasant" (see mal-). In legal use, "wrongful intent generally" (1540s).
malicious (adj.) Look up malicious at
early 13c., from Old French malicios "showing ill will, spiteful, wicked" (Modern French malicieux), from Latin malitiosus "wicked, malicious," from malitia "badness, ill will, spite," from malus "bad, unpleasant" (see mal-). In legal use (early 14c., Anglo-French), it means "characterized by malice prepense."
maliciously (adv.) Look up maliciously at
late 14c., from malicious + -ly (2).
maliciousness (n.) Look up maliciousness at
mid-15c., from malicious + -ness.
malign (adj.) Look up malign at
early 14c., from Old French maligne "having an evil nature," from Latin malignus "wicked, bad-natured," from male "badly" (see mal-) + -gnus "born," from gignere "to bear, beget," from PIE root *gn- "to bear" (see genus).
malign (v.) Look up malign at
"to slander," mid-15c., from earlier more literal sense of "to plot, to contrive" (early 15c.), from Old French malignier "to plot, deceive, pervert," from Late Latin malignare "to do maliciously," from malignus "mean, unkind" (see malign (adj.)). Related: Maligned; maligning.
malignancy (n.) Look up malignancy at
c. 1600, "malignant nature," from malignant + -cy. Of growths, tumors, from 1680s.
malignant (adj.) Look up malignant at
1560s, in reference to diseases, from Middle French malignant and directly from Late Latin malignantem (nominative malignans) "acting from malice," present participle of malignare "injure maliciously" (see malign (v.)). Earlier in the church malignant "followers of the antichrist," from Latin ecclesiam malignantum in early Church writing, applied by Protestant writers to the Church in Rome (1540s). As an adjective, Middle English used simple malign (early 14c.). Related: Malignantly.
maligner (n.) Look up maligner at
early 15c., agent noun from malign (v.).
malignity (n.) Look up malignity at
late 14c., from Old French maligneté, from Latin malignitas "ill-will, spite," from malignus "mean, unkind" (see malign (adj.)).
malinger (v.) Look up malinger at
1820, from French malingrer "to suffer," perhaps also "pretend to be ill," from malingre "ailing, sickly" (13c.), of uncertain origin, possibly a blend of mingre "sickly, miserable" and malade "ill." Mingre is itself a blend of maigre "meager" + haingre "sick, haggard," possibly from Germanic (compare Middle High German hager "thin"). The sense evolution may be through notion of beggars with sham sores. Related: Malingered; malingering; malingerer (1785).
malison (n.) Look up malison at
"a curse," mid-13c., from Old French maleiçon "curse," from Latin maledictionem (see malediction).
malkin (n.) Look up malkin at
also mawkin, "a slattern; woman of the lower classes," late 13c., from fem. proper name Malkyn, a diminutive of Mault "Maud" (see Matilda). Also attested from c. 1200 as the proper name of a female specter. Sense of "untidy woman" led to meaning "mop, bundle of rags on a stick" (used to clean ovens, artillery pieces, etc.), c. 1400.
MALKINTRASH. One in dismal garb. [Grose, "Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," London, 1785]
Attested as the name of a cat since 1670s (perhaps earlier as Grimalkin, 16c.); compare Serbo-Croatian mačka "cat," originally a pet-name form of Maria. Also used in Scotland and northern England as the name of a hare (1724).
mall (n.) Look up mall at
1737, "shaded walk serving as a promenade," generalized from The Mall, name of a broad, tree-lined promenade in St. James's Park, London (so called from 1670s, earlier Maill, 1640s), which was so called because it formerly was an open alley that was used to play pall-mall, a croquet-like game involving hitting a ball with a mallet through a ring, from French pallemaille, from Italian pallamaglio, from palla "ball" (see balloon (n.)) + maglio "mallet" (see mallet). Modern sense of "enclosed shopping gallery" is from 1962 (from 1951 in reference to city streets set aside for pedestrians only). Mall rat is from 1985.
mallard (n.) Look up mallard at
c. 1300, "wild drake or duck," from Old French malart (12c.) or Medieval Latin mallardus, apparently from male, from Latin masculus (see male), in which case the original sense probably was not of a specific species but of any male wild duck, though the specific sense of "male of the wild duck" was not attested in English until early 14c.
malleability (n.) Look up malleability at
1680s, from malleable + -ity.
malleable (adj.) Look up malleable at
late 14c., "capable of being shaped by hammering," from Middle French malleable and directly from Medieval Latin malleabilis, from malleare "to beat with a hammer," from Latin malleus "hammer" (see mallet). Figurative sense, of persons, "capable of being adapted" first recorded 1610s.
malleolus (n.) Look up malleolus at
bone knob at the ankle, 1690s, from Latin malleolus, diminutive of malleus "a hammer" (see mallet). Anatomical use is said to date to Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564).
mallet (n.) Look up mallet at
late 14c., from Old French maillet "mallet, small wooden hammer, door-knocker," diminutive of mail, from Latin malleus "a hammer, mallet," from Proto-Italic *molalo-, *molklo- "hammer," from PIE *molkh-tlo- "crushing instrument," source also of Russian molot, Czech mlat "hammer," perhaps from root *mel- (1) "soft," with derivatives referring to softened material and tools for grinding (see mild).
malleus (n.) Look up malleus at
ear bone, 1660s, from Latin malleus "a hammer" (see mallet). So called for its shape.
mallow (n.) Look up mallow at
late 14c., from late Old English malwe, from Latin malva "mallows," from a pre-Latin Mediterranean language. The same lost word apparently yielded Greek malakhe "mallow."
malmsey (n.) Look up malmsey at
c. 1400, type of strong, sweet white wine, from Provençal malmesie or Middle Dutch malemesye, both from Medieval Latin malmasia, from Medieval Greek Monembasia "Monemvasia," a town in the southern Peloponnesus that was an important center of wine production in the Middle Ages, literally "only one entrance," from monos "alone, only" (see mono-) + embasis "entering into," from en- "in" + basis "a going, a stepping, a base" (see basis).
malnourished (adj.) Look up malnourished at
1906, from mal- "bad, badly" + nourished (see nourish).
malnourishment (n.) Look up malnourishment at
1899, see mal- + nourishment.
malnutrition (n.) Look up malnutrition at
1843, from mal- + nutrition.
malocclusion (n.) Look up malocclusion at
1864, from mal- + occlusion.
malodorous (adj.) Look up malodorous at
1832, from mal- "bad" + odorous. Related: Malodorously; malodorousness.
malpractice (n.) Look up malpractice at
1670s, hybrid coined from mal- + practice (n.). Also used in law for "illegal action by which a person seeks a benefit for himself while in a position of trust" (1758).
malt (n.) Look up malt at
Old English malt (Anglian), mealt (West Saxon), from Proto-Germanic *maltam (source also of Old Norse malt, Old Saxon malt, Middle Dutch, Dutch mout, Old High German malz, German Malz "malt"), possibly from PIE *meld- (see melt (v.)), extended form of root *mel- (1) "soft," probably via notion of "softening" the grain by steeping it in water before brewing. Finnish mallas, Old Church Slavonic mlato are considered to be borrowed from Germanic.
malt (v.) Look up malt at
mid-15c., "to convert grain to malt," from malt (n.). Meaning + "to make with malt" is from c. 1600. Related: Malted; malting. Malt liquor (which is fermented, not brewed) first attested 1690s. Malted "a drink with malted milk" is from 1945.
Malta Look up Malta at
Mediterranean island, from Latin Melite, perhaps from Phoenician melita, literally "place of refuge," from malat "he escaped."
Maltese Look up Maltese at
from Malta + -ese. Maltese cat is attested from 1830; Maltese cross is from 1754 (earlier Malta cross, 1650s).
malthouse (n.) Look up malthouse at
late Old English mealthus; see malt (n.) + house (n.).
Malthusian (n.) Look up Malthusian at
1812, from the teachings of English economist Thomas R. Malthus (1766-1835), especially with regard to population increase. As an adjective by 1818. Related: Malthusianism.
maltreat (v.) Look up maltreat at
1708, from French maltraiter, or formed in English from mal- + treat (v.). Related: Maltreated; maltreating.
maltreatment (n.) Look up maltreatment at
1721, from French maltraitement or formed in English from mal- + treatment.
maltster (n.) Look up maltster at
"maker of malt," early 14c. (late 13c. as a surname), from malt + -ster.
malty (adj.) Look up malty at
1817, from malt (n.) + -y (2).
malversation (n.) Look up malversation at
"professional or official corruption," 1540s, from French malversation, from malverser, from Latin male versari, from male "wrongly, ill" (see mal-) + versari "to behave, conduct oneself," passive frequentative of vertere "to turn" (see versus).
Malvinas Look up Malvinas at
Argentine name for the Falkland Islands, from French Malouins, name for inhabitants of the French city of St. Malo, who attempted a colony there in 1764 under Louis-Antoine de Bougainville.
malware (n.) Look up malware at
1997, from mal- + -ware, from software, etc.
mama Look up mama at
1707, spelling variant of mamma. Meaning "sexually attractive woman" first recorded 1925 in African-American vernacular; mama's boy "soft, effeminate male" is from 1901.
mamba (n.) Look up mamba at
large venomous African snake, 1862, from Zulu (i)mamba or Swahili mamba.
mambo (n.) Look up mambo at
popular dance (like the rhumba but livelier), September 1948, from American Spanish mambo, said by Webster to be from Haitian creole word for "voodoo priestess."
Mameluke Look up Mameluke at
Egyptian dynasty 1254-1517, originally a military unit comprised of Caucasian slaves, from Middle French mameluk and directly from Arabic mamluk "purchased slave," literally "possessed," from past participle of malaka "he possessed" (compare Arabic malik, Hebrew melekh "king").
mamma (n.) Look up mamma at
1570s, representing the native form of the reduplication of *ma- that is nearly universal among the Indo-European languages (Greek mamme "mother, grandmother," Latin mamma, Persian mama, Russian and Lithuanian mama "mother," German Muhme "mother's sister," French maman, Welsh mam "mother"). Probably a natural sound in baby-talk, perhaps imitative of sound made while sucking.

Its late appearance in English is curious, but Middle English had mome (mid-13c.) "an aunt; an old woman," also an affectionate term of address for an older woman. In educated usage, the stress is always on the last syllable. In terms of recorded usage of related words in English, mama is from 1707, mum is from 1823, mummy in this sense from 1839, mommy 1844, momma 1852, and mom 1867.