malaise

noun
mal·​aise | \ mə-ˈlāz , ma-, -ˈlez \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

This willingness to experiment without feeling beholden to fan expectations about what games should be sold or shared makes Itchio feel like a garden of digital possibility, one unburdened by corporate overlords or the growing malaise of loot boxes. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The game store that outshines Steam by staying small and weird," 29 Nov. 2018 Conservative under Reagan had become a potent force, a liberating optimistic and patriotic alternative to the malaise and pessimism of the 1970s. Fox News, "Laura Ingraham announces new segment 'Defending the First'," 10 Apr. 2018 Salah is considered a national hero in Egypt, where many see him as a rare success story at a time of economic malaise and political repression. Hamza Hendawi And Samy Magdy, Fox News, "Salah takes on Egyptian federation over World Cup debacle," 30 Aug. 2018 In the coming decades, as the regime transitioned from Khrushchev to Brezhnev, a rough period of stagnation turned into an epidemic of malaise, with plummeting production and productivity rates. Niree Noel, Allure, "The Evolution of Armenia’s Beauty Industry, According to Women Who Witnessed It," 27 July 2018 Possibly more concerning is the notion that their offensive malaise might not be their biggest concern. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The NFL Soap Opera Is Ready for Its Twist Ending," 19 Dec. 2018 Or that the Japanese okonomiyaki—a cabbage omelet that can cure a hangover and most variations of malaise—has become ubiquitous. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Why Pastured Eggs Are the Perfect Food," 13 Sep. 2018 Is the 40-year-old at risk of sliding into the same malaise as Hollande, the socialist who served a single term before stepping aside amid brutal opinion polls? NBC News, "Emmanuel Macron's first year: Could France's golden president lose his luster?," 6 May 2018 In Phoenix, another prominent victim of the housing bust, a similar malaise has recently overtaken the market. Laura Kusisto, WSJ, "Las Vegas Housing Weakness Signals the Slowdown Is Spreading," 13 Dec. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about malaise

Listen to Our Podcast about malaise

Statistics for malaise

Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for malaise

The first known use of malaise was in 1768

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for malaise

malaise

noun

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.

malaise

noun
mal·​aise | \ mə-ˈlāz , ma- , -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 flulike symptoms— Larry Thompson

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on 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

Comments on malaise

What made you want to look up malaise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!