malfunction

verb
mal·​func·​tion | \ ˌmal-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce malfunction (audio) \
malfunctioned; malfunctioning; malfunctions

Definition of malfunction

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to function imperfectly or badly : fail to operate normally

malfunction

noun
plural malfunctions

Definition of malfunction (Entry 2 of 2)

: a failure to operate or function in the normal or correct manner : the action or an instance of malfunctioning a hardware/equipment malfunction Once thought to be a disease itself dropsy is now known to be a sign of several kinds of body malfunction, especially congestive heart failure and kidney disease.— C. Clairborne Ray In schizophrenia this filtering system malfunctions or short-circuits. This malfunction causes people to misevaluate what they see, hear, and experience in their environment.— Richard Crino

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Did You Know?

A malfunctioning switch might keep us from turning on a light. A malfunctioning heart valve might require replacement with an artificial valve, and if your immune system malfunctions it may start to attack healthy cells. And a malfunction in a voting machine could result in hundreds of votes being miscounted.

Examples of malfunction in a Sentence

Verb

A software problem is causing the system to malfunction.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Miguel Martinez, 32, was a passenger in a car driving southbound on I-95 in Palm Beach County when one of the tires malfunctioned. Laurel Weibezahn, sun-sentinel.com, "Delray man killed in I-95 car crash," 3 July 2019 If anything went amiss while the satellite was out of range—if an instrument malfunctioned or any temperature or voltage parameter went out of limits—an alarm would sound. Andrew Blum, WIRED, "Inside the Room Where They Control the Weather Satellites," 25 June 2019 Some of this might just be how strong the show’s visual influences are, and some of it might be the critical hive mind malfunctioning. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Netflix’s Hilda is a gorgeous, melancholy kids’ show about emotional maturity," 14 June 2019 There was no reason for Bero to be malfunctioning like this. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "A starfighter pilot awakens in an unwelcome future in this excerpt from Velocity Weapon," 11 June 2019 Previously, only one has made it into orbit: 2011’s Spektr-R, a radio astronomy mission that fell short of expectations and could not be revived after malfunctioning earlier this year. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Telescope designed to study mysterious dark energy keeps Russia’s space science hopes alive," 10 June 2019 Hawaii transportation department spokesman Tim Sakahara told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser rumors of an active shooter appeared to be linked to a laptop that malfunctioned, popped and started giving off smoke at a checkpoint. Audrey Mcavoy, USA TODAY, "Active shooter scare that caused Honolulu airport chaos linked to smoking laptop," 19 June 2019 About 50 people, mostly children, were sickened and ambulances took more than 20 people to hospitals after a pump malfunctioned, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "An interstellar meteor may have slammed into Earth," 16 Apr. 2019 But if the batteries ran down or the neurostimulator malfunctioned, all of Mr. B’s interest in Johnny Cash vanished. Carl Elliott, The New York Review of Books, "Happiness on Demand?," 7 Feb. 2019

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

Verb

1941, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1892, in the meaning defined above

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Learn More about malfunction

Dictionary Entries near malfunction

malform

malformation

malformed

malfunction

Malgache

malgré

malgré lui

Statistics for malfunction

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for malfunction

The first known use of malfunction was in 1892

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More Definitions for malfunction

malfunction

verb

English Language Learners Definition of malfunction

: to fail to function or work properly

malfunction

intransitive verb
mal·​func·​tion | \ (ˈ)mal-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce malfunction (audio) \

Medical Definition of malfunction

: to function imperfectly or badly : fail to operate in the normal or usual manner malfunctioning kidneys

Other Words from malfunction

malfunction noun

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Comments on malfunction

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