mal·​a·​pert ˌma-lə-ˈpərt How to pronounce malapert (audio)
: impudently bold : saucy

Did you know?

Malapert and Shakespeare

Malapert debuted in English in the 15th century, was a favorite of Shakespeare, and is still used sporadically today. The prefix mal-, meaning "bad" or "badly" and deriving from the Latin malus, is found in many English words, including malevolent and malefactor. The second half of malapert comes from the Middle English apert, meaning "open" or "frank." Apert further derives from the Latin word apertus ("open"), which gave us our noun aperture (meaning "an opening"). Putting the two halves together gives us a word that describes someone or something that is open or honest in a bad way—that is, in a way that is rudely bold. The noun malapert also exists and means "a bold or impudent person."

Word History


Middle English, from mal- + apert open, frank — more at pert

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of malapert was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near malapert

Cite this Entry

“Malapert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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