mal·​e·​fac·​tor | \ˈma-lə-ˌfak-tər \

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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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

Theodore Roosevelt, the first great Republican Progressive, fought a Presidential campaign on the issue of ‘trust busting’ and talked freely about malefactors of great wealth. Robert D. Atkinson, The New Republic, "The Myth of the Roosevelt “Trustbusters”," 4 May 2018 If malefactors in high places are dealt with firmly and impartially, that will deter others and signal to investors that the rule of law still applies in South Africa. The Economist, "First, fire the croniesTo fix South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa should be bold," 22 Feb. 2018 The same guy who had been compared with icons Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle is now being compared with malefactors Max Bialystock and Loria. Tom Verducci,, "The Boss Is Here: Inside Derek Jeter's Quest To Turn Around the Marlins," 7 Feb. 2018 How nice, the malefactors of great wealth are giving their workers a little tip. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "This Tax Bill May Do Some Good," 21 Dec. 2017 The malware could then infect their company's network and potentially allow malefactors entry into the network to steal information, or do who knows what else. Tim Bajarin, Time, "Why Social Media Users Should Never Lower Their Guard," 7 Aug. 2017 The referees had an off night, even forgetting which malefactor player had how many technical fouls. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Cavaliers Offer a Glimpse of an Alternative Universe," 10 June 2017 The religious police patrolled the streets looking for purported malefactors and were given a more or less free hand to do so. Peter Bergen, CNN, "Bergen: The real reason Saudis rolled out the reddest of red carpets," 21 May 2017 As a result, 10 malefactors were wounded and brought to a hospital for treatment but were declared dead upon arrival. Felipe Villamor And Richard C. Paddock, New York Times, "Rodrigo Duterte, Pushing Split With U.S., Counters Philippines’ Deep Ties OCT. 26, 2016," 28 Oct. 2016

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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English Language Learners Definition of malefactor

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

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playful or foolish behavior

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