mal·fea·sance | \ˌmal-ˈfē-zᵊn(t)s \

Definition of malfeasance 

: wrongdoing or misconduct especially by a public official The investigation has uncovered evidence of corporate malfeasance.

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Examples of malfeasance in a Sentence

The investigation has uncovered evidence of corporate malfeasance. a campaign to impeach the governor for malfeasance in office

Recent Examples on the Web

Giuliani also argued that if Trump sits down with Mueller’s team, any inconsistencies with his previous statements or the record would result from innocent confusion, not malfeasance. Laura King,, "Giuliani says Trump 'probably' has power to self-pardon but wouldn't use it," 3 June 2018 Grounds for removal are: exercising unlawful power or authority, gross neglect of duty, gross immorality, drunkenness, misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance. James Ewinger,, "Perry Village mayor and council are at a silent impasse," 28 Apr. 2018 The first is that Pruitt’s living arrangement raises questions about potential corruption—a far more impactful malfeasance than frivolous spending. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "A brief guide to Scott Pruitt’s bizarre condo corruption controversy.," 30 Mar. 2018 The memo demonstrated potential FBI malfeasance in using a dossier funded by Democrats to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on a marginal former Trump campaign adviser. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump throws away his momentum for peanuts," 10 Feb. 2018 Johnson pleaded guilty to malfeasance in office and two counts of obstruction of justice, and was sentenced last month to serve five years in prison. Heather Nolan,, "Travis Boys sentenced to life in prison in NOPD Officer Daryle Holloway's death," 3 May 2018 China has a history of this sort of bureaucratic malfeasance, with its consumers often helping out. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Tariffs Aren’t China’s Strongest Weapon Against the U.S.," 2 July 2018 Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office filed a bill of information formally charging Alexcee with malfeasance on April 4, 2017. Emily Lane,, "Judge rules OPSO employee shouldn't face charge related to teen inmate's hanging death," 23 May 2018 Fred Hiestand, then a consultant to a committee drafting malpractice legislation, said Brown met with him and asked why the committee had not set a firm ceiling on damages for pain and emotional distress caused by medical malfeasance. Bob Egelko,, "Case of Jahi McMath, girl declared brain-dead, raises judicial issues," 29 June 2018

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

1663, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for malfeasance

mal- + obsolete feasance doing, execution

mal- bad + obsolete English feasance doing, execution, from Old French faisance, from fais-, stem of faire to make, do, from Latin facere

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Statistics for malfeasance

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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The first known use of malfeasance was in 1663

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More Definitions for malfeasance



Financial Definition of malfeasance

What It Is

Malfeasance is the legal term for intentionally doing something that is illegal.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe is Jane Smith's broker. John really wants to keep Jane Smith as a client, and he is in charge of her managed account, which means he can buy and sell for her account without her prior approval.

John decides that he wants to increase the returns in Jane's account, so he gets a tip from his buddy, Jake Johnson, who is the CFO of Company XYZ and who tells him that Company XYZ is about to be acquired by Company ABC. John takes this piece of insider information and buys 10,000 shares of Company XYZ for Jane's account. As expected, the stock price of Company XYZ soars 50% after Company ABC announces its acquisition plan five days later. Jane's account makes $200,000.

John has intentionally done something illegal (trade on insider information) that he knows could harm Jane if caught. This is malfeasance.

Why It Matters

Malfeasance is a term often connected to political figures, and it is hard to prove.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of malfeasance

law : illegal or dishonest activity especially by a public official or a corporation


mal·fea·sance | \ˌmal-ˈfēz-ᵊns \

Legal Definition of malfeasance 

: the commission (as by a public official) of a wrongful or unlawful act involving or affecting the performance of one's duties — compare misfeasance, nonfeasance

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