mal·​aise | \ mə-ˈlāz How to pronounce malaise (audio) , ma-, -ˈlez How to pronounce malaise (audio) \

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

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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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In a time of coronavirus, political chaos and modern malaise, Joe, Patricia and the Big Woo are a worthy addition to your 2020 streaming repertoire. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "Everything you need to remember on the 30th anniversary of 'Joe Versus the Volcano'," 10 Mar. 2020 The patient went to a general practitioner on March 3 with fever, headache, malaise, sore throat and cough, Mkhize said. David Mckenzie And Bukola Adebayo, CNN, "South Africa records its first case of coronavirus," 5 Mar. 2020 The general malaise surrounding the team has enveloped their star player, who has yet to have a multi-goal game this season. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings' Dylan Larkin scored his 100th goal; will they ever come in bunches?," 19 Jan. 2020 In my experience, Midol puts the kibosh to my headaches, malaise, and puffiness like no other cure. Carla Lalli Music, Bon Appétit, "My Favorite Hangover Cure Is Disguised as a Drug for PMS," 27 Dec. 2019 The most common symptoms are intense pain, rigid abdominal muscles, muscle cramping, malaise, local sweating, nausea, vomiting, and hypertension. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "The 10 Most Dangerous Spiders in the World," 11 Nov. 2019 Typical symptoms includes chills, fever, malaise, joint pain and muscle pain, according to the CDC. Marisa Iati,, "He was ‘perfectly healthy’ before the mosquito bite. Nine days later, he was brain dead," 19 Sep. 2019 CNN Business FedEx Outlook FedEx expects a 16%-29% fall in EPS during the current fiscal year, thanks to the costs of expansion, the general economic malaise, and a drop in revenue associated with its cutting of ties with Amazon. David Meyer, Fortune, "A New Sputnik Moment: CEO Daily," 18 Sep. 2019 Financial analysts had forecast another drop, of 2% or so, in the fourth, marking the first such prolonged malaise since 2015-16, when America suffered a manufacturing slump. The Economist, "Goldilocks and the three bears After a nervy year America Inc has a bounce in its step," 6 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malaise.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of malaise

1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for malaise

French malaise, from Old French, from mal- + aise comfort — more at ease

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Time Traveler for malaise

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The first known use of malaise was in 1768

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Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malaise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for malaise


How to pronounce malaise (audio) How to pronounce malaise (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of malaise

medical : a slight or general feeling of not being healthy or happy
: a problem or condition that harms or weakens a group, society, etc.


mal·​aise | \ mə-ˈlāz How to pronounce malaise (audio) , ma- How to pronounce malaise (audio) , -ˈlez \

Medical Definition of malaise

: an indefinite feeling of debility or lack of health often indicative of or accompanying the onset of an illness fever, malaise, and other flu-like symptoms— Larry Thompson

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More from Merriam-Webster on malaise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for malaise

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with malaise

Spanish Central: Translation of malaise

Nglish: Translation of malaise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of malaise for Arabic Speakers

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