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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for malefactor


evildoer, immoralist, sinner, wrongdoer

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

An online search for Coinbase shows its offices at a different location, a diversion tactic to keep away disgruntled crypto-currency investors, thieves who are trying to get access to crypto-assets, and other malefactors. The Economist, "A disciplined startup emerges from the Wild West of crypto-currency," 28 June 2018 Certainly that isn’t how Japanese prosecutors handled the malefactors at Toshiba or Olympus, two firms marred by accounting scandals. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Ghosn Inquisition," 26 Nov. 2018 And the reason he's so resolved is that for decades, China has been the principal malefactor trying to use free trade aspiration most of the rest of the world has, to pursue mercantilist goals. Fox News, "John Bolton on Maduro 'assassination' attempt, Russian election meddling," 5 Aug. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about malefactor

Statistics for malefactor

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for malefactor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for malefactor



English Language Learners Definition of malefactor

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on malefactor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with malefactor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for malefactor

Spanish Central: Translation of malefactor

Nglish: Translation of malefactor for Spanish Speakers

Comments on malefactor

What made you want to look up malefactor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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