mal·​e·​fac·​tor | \ ˈma-lə-ˌfak-tər How to pronounce malefactor (audio) \

Definition of malefactor

1 : one who commits an offense against the law especially : felon He favors harsh punishment for chronic malefactors.
2 : one who does ill toward another a sinister malefactor abusing his powerIron Age

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Synonyms for malefactor


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Examples of malefactor in a Sentence

she regards anyone who would cause the breakup of a family as a malefactor of the worst sort the victim was able to give a clear description of the malefactor to the police
Recent Examples on the Web Where once conspiracy theorists looked to Russia as the enemy, they were suddenly left without a malefactor. Los Angeles Times, "QAnon now pushes alarming conspiracy myths targeting China and Jewish people," 23 Mar. 2021 The declaration makes no mention of any particular malefactor, and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau avoided offering any more specificity. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "China hollers after Canada leads condemnation of hostage diplomacy," 16 Feb. 2021 The social-networking giant faces the prospect that malicious actors in the United States and abroad could try to undermine the process in the same way that Russian malefactors seized on the 2016 presidential election to sow social unrest online. Washington Post, "Facebook will bar posts, ads that spread disinformation about the U.S. Census," 19 Dec. 2019 And yet, these malefactors are not nearly as dangerous as the first film’s Bergens. Christian Holub,, "Trolls World Tour is singing Infinity War's tune without the stakes: Review," 10 Apr. 2020 The kids were doing themselves a favor — young people have more of a future for Senator Sanders and his coterie of socialist dingbat malefactors to ruin. Arising from the tumult, triumphant, was the dotty figure of Joe Biden. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Joe Biden: Not a Socialist, Just a Scoundrel," 5 Mar. 2020 Bridges was a zealous vamp from the get-go; Tomasson a prowling, barefaced malefactor; Bouley a restless shark, gliding between wily poses. Matthew Guerrieri, Washington Post, "‘Samson and Delilah’ has old-school opera style and strengths," 2 Mar. 2020 With open arms and open checkbooks, all of these malefactors were welcomed. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "How the NRA Sold Out America," 2 Oct. 2019 Get our daily newsletter And every malefactor needed to fear the interest of the DA’s office. The Economist, "Obituary: Robert Morgenthau died on July 21st," 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malefactor.' 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 malefactor

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for malefactor

Middle English malefactour, from Latin malefactor, from malefacere to do evil, from male + facere to do — more at do

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

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Statistics for malefactor

Last Updated

28 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malefactor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of malefactor

formal : someone who is guilty of a crime or offense : a person whose behavior is wrong or evil

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