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


evildoer, immoralist, sinner, wrongdoer

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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

James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., was the best known of the many malefactors who lived out their lives here. William M. Gurstelle, Twin Cities, "Good ol’ Rocky Top: Visit the history, music, science of northeast Tennessee," 15 June 2019 Attacks may be timed to do maximum damage to a brand and provide maximum benefit to a malefactor. Matthew F. Ferraro For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Disinformation is harming businesses. Here are 6 ways to fight it," 10 June 2019 Here the principle of justice, which demands that malefactors receive a punishment proportionate to their offense, and deterrence of this deeper sort meet. Joseph M. Bessette, WSJ, "The Pope Makes a Fatal Error," 7 Aug. 2018 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

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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Statistics for malefactor

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for malefactor

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

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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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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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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