malapert

adjective
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 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."

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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Cite this Entry

“Malapert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malapert. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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