mal·​a·​pert | \ ˌma-lə-ˈpərt How to pronounce malapert (audio) \

Definition of malapert

: impudently bold : saucy

Malapert and Shakespeare

Malapert debuted in English in the 14th 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, a way that is bold or rude. The noun "malapert" also exists, and means "a bold or impudent person."

First Known Use of malapert

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for malapert

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Malapert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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