Definition of malaise
1 : an indefinite feeling of debility or lack of health often indicative of or accompanying the onset of an illness An infected person will feel a general malaise.
2 : a vague sense of mental or moral ill-being a malaise of cynicism and despair — Malcolm Boyd
malaise was our Word of the Day on 06/03/2008. Hear the podcast!
Examples of malaise in a sentence
The symptoms include headache, malaise, and fatigue.
An infected person will feel a general malaise.
The country's current economic problems are symptoms of a deeper malaise.
Did You Know?
Malaise, which ultimately traces back to Old French, has been part of English since the mid-18th century. One of its most notable uses, however, came in 1979 - well, sort of. President Jimmy Carter never actually used the word in his July 15 televised address, but it became known as the malaise speech all the same. In the speech, Carter described the U.S. as a nation facing a crisis of confidence and rife with paralysis and stagnation and drift. He spoke of a national malaise a few days later, and it's not hard to see why the malaise name stuck. The speech was praised by some and criticized by many others, but whatever your politics, it remains a vivid illustration of the meaning of malaise.
Origin and Etymology of malaise
French malaise, from Old French, from mal- + aise comfort — more at ease
First Known Use: 1768
MALAISE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of malaise for English Language Learners
medical : a slight or general feeling of not being healthy or happy
: a problem or condition that harms or weakens a group, society, etc.
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